Bringing Codependency Recovery Pioneer to the UK in 2017

 

Robert Burney Trip to UK 2017

Book cover

Robert Burney is an author, spiritual teacher and counselor.  His first book “Codependence – The Dance of Wounded Souls” has been called “one of the truly transformational works of our time” and he has been referred to as “a metaphysical Stephen Hawking.”   He is a counselor /coach and Spiritual Teacher whose work has been compared to John Bradshaw’s “except much more spiritual” and described as “taking inner child healing to a new level.”  His book “The Dance”  is an insightful, clearly written narrative that has helped countless people to understand and heal from the shortcomings of their relationships with self and others.  Robert’s work resonates strongly with those that have been fortunate enough to come across it.

Codependency Recovery / Inner Child Healing Formula

A pioneer in the realm of codependency recovery and inner child healing, Robert discovered and developed a pioneering holistic approach to codependency recovery – an inner child healing paradigm – that offers a powerful, life changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

This blueprint can be invaluable to people just starting the recovery / healing process, and is often the missing piece that people who have been healing /  recovering / on a spiritual path for decades have been seeking.  What is unique about the approach is that all of the tools are brought together in a focused system for achieving integration and balance – and even someone who has a very good therapist (or is a very good therapist) right now, can still find it very beneficial to attend one of his workshops.

Creating the Possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK

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Robert Burney

In order to share his experience, strength and hope – and teach others his integration formula – Robert has offered intensive workshops and retreats in the US, Canada, and twice on the Spanish Island of Ibiza, as well as on cruises in the Caribbean.  In spite of having a healthy following in the United Kingdom Robert has not physically presented his work in a similar fashion.

Several years ago Angel Morrison (who had both attended a retreat in Ibiza and been on a cruise with Robert) suggested the idea of working to bring Robert Burney to the UK.  Angel understood the importance of expanding the knowledge of Robert’s work.  Rachel Hawadi who had read Robert’s work (and done phone counseling with him) agreed and the two agreed to volunteer and commit to making this a reality.  This has then given birth to a Facebook Group which aims “To make the possibility of bringing Robert Burney to the UK” in 2017.

As of February 14th, 2017, initial plans are being formulated.  The goal is to make this trip happen in September 2017.  This page is being created to survey people who might be interested in meeting and/or attending an appearance by Robert, to ascertain what formats people would like to have available and where it would be best to offer these opportunities.

Location

It is assumed that London would be one of the locations – and both Birmingham and Nottingham have been proposed by people interested.  Email us to let us know if you could attend in London or want to suggest another location in the UK.

Formats

In order to make the best use of Robert’s time the following mixture of sessions could be offered during the tour.

  • 1 to 1 sessions: These could either be face to face/Telephone and Skype sessions for those in the UK.   Depending on availability these can be 1 hour sessions.   Given that the unique selling point of this tour is being able to see Robert face to face it would seem that a “face to face” would be the main offering.

  • Weekend Retreat: A residential retreat in a comfortable, peaceful setting starting on Friday with a 6:30 arrival, dinner and a session until 10 pm.  An intensive session on Saturday which would end on Sunday around 4 pm.  It would be important to ensure that those attending have excellent food and a general feeling of being cared for.

  • 5-day Retreat: A transformative retreat for those needing a radical overhaul in a similar setting as the weekend retreat but going deeper with more workshops, 1 to 1 sessions.  The setting will also be comfortable and nurturing.   There should be an additional offering of holistic therapies e.g. massages, reflexology, yoga, deep breathing, walks etc.

  • 1 day Intensive workshops: These would follow the exact same formats that have been offered and could be done both during the day or evening.  More than likely, evening sessions could be more successful in London – although it would need to be for 3 evenings in order for Robert to teach the formula that he teaches in his Intensive Workshops.  There might be a requirement to juggle between different towns in the UK.

Please send us some feedback so that we can ascertain the amount of interest and what people are interested in so that we can know if we can make this possibility manifest this year.  Email us to let us know.

Here is some of the feedback from the Intensive Training Workshops / retreats that Robert has done in the past.

“I found this session to be very useful in seeing the what & the why of “my” reality.  The understanding I have gained gives me hope in my future.  This has been the greatest gift I have ever given myself.”

“I really enjoyed Robert Burney’s Intensive Training on inner child work. . .  I had many revelations about my inner child and how I can reparent and stop the critical parent that has followed me my whole life. . . Thank you so much Robert.  You are a truly unforgetable person. So glad I said yes to attending.”

“Exceptionally understandable; very clear.  This was LIFE Changing – I am so thankful.  I would Absolutely recommend it.”

“Robert Burney’s training day was so inspirational and enlightening.  He was loving and warm and presented profound life changing material in a very not intimidating way.  Magical!”

“My life has been much better since I went to your seminar.”

“Brilliant.  Liberating.  So profound it is sometimes ! hilarious  I feel you completely get the dynamics of the human experience and the truth you teach can set people free.”

“It was very empowering, uplifting and gave me new hope.  The information was invaluable.”

“Robert is a very , compassionate intuitive, and intelligent soul who shares his insights to you in such a clear, fun, and poignant way that your life will be forever changed.” –  Testimonial Page for Robert Burney Seminar

Email us to let us know if you are interested.

Sacred Spiral

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site:   A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries.  The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries –  is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls  (links to all of my books in hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) would really help you take your understanding to a whole new level.  Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.  I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.   (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend.  Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

I don’t have to know that today. I don’t have to decide that today. I can let it go for today

“I didn’t have to live in fear and make myself crazy about something that didn’t happen”

October 29, 2013 at 1:31pm (I originally wrote this as a note on Facebook)

Yesterday I got the results of a biopsy and it was negative – great news! What was also really great is that in the 10 days between the time the biopsy was taken and when I got the results, I didn’t have to live in fear and make myself crazy about something that didn’t happen. That is because of my recovery and having had the blessing of learning how to set internal boundaries emotionally and mentally so I can keep letting go of the outcome, of things I can’t control. In the past, waiting for an outcome that was important to me – like the results of this biopsy – would have been excruciating. I am so grateful for my recovery. For having learned how to have the ability to let go of my fear in the moment and say to myself that is about the future, I don’t need to know that today.

My disease wants to project horror movies into the future of impending doom, financial tragedy, being along forever. Because of my recovery I don’t have to get all emotionally caught up in things that haven’t happened yet, in outcomes in the future which may never happen. I am very grateful that I have the tools and knowledge to not allow my childhood wounding and programming to dictate the quality of my life today.

“When I was about two years in recovery there was a time when I was talking to my sponsor on the phone. I had just lost my job, the car had broken down, and I had to move out of my apartment in two weeks. Talk about tragedy and impending doom! I was laying in bed feeling very sorry for myself and very terrified about how painful it was going to be when I became homeless. After listening to me for a while my sponsor asked me, “What’s up above you?” It was a stupid question and I told him so. I was pissed that he wasn’t giving me the sympathy I deserved – but he insisted that I answer. So I finally said, “Well, the ceiling.” And he said, “Oh, so your not homeless tonight are you?”” – Gratitude – a Vital Tool in the Recovery Process

“One of the things I say often, is that I realized I had spent most of my life before recovery worrying about decisions I never had to make – because when it became time to make the decision it was obvious what to do. The situation had changed or new information had come in – and the days and weeks (and sometimes months) I had spent worrying about that decision were a waste of time and energy. One of the greatest recovery tools I have learned is just to be able to say, “I don’t have to decide that today” or “I don’t have to know that today” – and let go of the outcome I am worried about for today.” – Joy2MeU Update Newsletter April 2009

“They say that God made the world round so we can’t see too far over the horizon. The details about how those events over the horizon are going to work out are not my business today. If I am putting all my energy into figuring out how I am going to cross the mountain way off in the distance, then I am liable to step into a hole that is directly in front of me on my path today. (Could cause me to hurt my leg 😉 I need to keep an eye on the horizon so that I can make any adjustments to my heading that I need to make – but most of my attention and energy needs to be focused on what is in front of me to do and experience in my life today. I want to be present for my life today and be able to enjoy the scenery that is part of the texture of my journey today. In my codependency, my fear and shame driven relationship with life caused me to be incapable of being present in the moment because I was focused on the future or the past. One of the gifts of my recovery is the ability to be here today, to be available for moments of happiness and Joy no matter how many frightening unknowns are looming on the horizon – no matter how impossible it looks to me for me to ever get there.

I haven’t reached a point in my journey from which it is possible to see the details of how this transition is going to unfold. My part as a co-creator in this life experience means that I am responsible for planting seeds and gathering information and doing the footwork to prepare myself for those events on and over the horizon – but the details will not become clear until I have reached the point in my journey when I need to see them clearly. One of the greatest stress reducers in my recovery was the insight that it wasn’t doing me any good to worry about decisions that it was not yet time to make – that worry was in fact a symptom that I was in my disease trying to figure out how to control life because of my fear, and it created more fear. A very dysfunctional dynamic – that is the essence of the condition of codependency – which prevented me from ever really living life, until recovery.

“Worry – which is negative fantasizing – is a reaction to fear of the unknown which creates more fear, which creates more worry, which creates more fear, etc. This fear is not a normal human fear of the unknown. It is codependent fear: a distorted, magnified, virulent, mutated species of fear caused by the poisonous combination of a false belief that being human is shameful with a polarized (black and white, right and wrong) perspective of life. This self perpetuating, self destructive type of obsessive thinking feeds not only on fear, but on shaming ourselves for feeling the fear.

The disease of codependency is a dysfunctional emotional defense system adapted by our egos to help us survive. The polarized perspective of life we were programmed with in early childhood, causes us to be afraid of making a mistake, of doing life “wrong.” At the core of our being, we feel unlovable and unworthy – because our parents felt unlovable and unworthy – and we spend great amounts of energy trying to keep our shameful defectiveness a secret. We feel that, if we were perfect like we “should” be, we would not feel fear and confusion, and would have reached “happily ever after” by now. So, we shame ourselves for feeling fear, which adds gasoline to the inferno of fear that is driving us. The shame and fear that drive obsession becomes so painful and ‘crazy making’ that at some point we have to find some way to shut down our minds for a little while – drugs or alcohol or food or sleep or television, etc.

It is a very dysfunctional, and sad, way to relate to life. The fear we are empowering is about the future – the shame is about the past. We are not capable of being in the now and enjoying life because we are caught up in trauma melodramas about things which have not yet happened – or wallowing in orgies of self recrimination about the past, which can not be changed. Codependents do not really live life – we endure, we survive, we persevere.” – Obsession / Obsessive Thinking Part 1

I am not writing the script, am not in control of this human experience, so I need to do what I am led to do when I am led to do it – with faith that a Loving plan is unfolding. Worry is negative fantasy. Fear of the future does not serve me on my path today – takes away my ability to be here now. The fear will come up certainly – just as it did when I wrote the paragraph above – but that is normal and human. I can use my recovery tools to let go of that fear of the unknown – and have boundaries with the critical parent voice in my head which wants me to project a fantasy of impending doom, a horror movie in my mind, that will cause me to create artificial fear in my life today. As I talked about in my article on Acceptance (Serenity – Accepting the things we cannot change), I learned that 90% of the stress in my life before codependency recovery was my responsibility, something I had some control over – and I do not have to create that kind of stress in my life any more, thanks to recovery and my faith in the Great Spirit.” – Joy2MeU Update Newsletter November 2002

“The number one tool of the ego is fear. Anytime we feel fear, there are multiple levels involved – multiple perspectives from which that fear is originating. And, like all the other emotions we experience, fear has a purpose and needs to be honored as a gift. Emotions do not have value in and of themselves – they just are. What give emotions a positive or negative value is how we react to them. Most of us learned to have negative reactions to emotions because our perspective of our own emotions was all messed up in childhood. (Due to the messages and role modeling of the adults around us.)

Fear is an important tool in living. It is there to protect us, to help us avoid situations and people who will do us harm. It is our relationship to fear that is dysfunctional because of our childhood experiences.

There is a level of fear that is unavoidable in being human – that is fear of the unknown.

“This human experience is a process that involves inherent conflict between the continuously changing nature of life and the human ego’s need to survive. In order to insure survival (which is the ego’s appointed task) the human ego needs to define things. What is food? What is friend or enemy? Who am I and how do I relate to them? What can hurt me and what brings me pleasure? It also learned that it is healthy to have a fear of the unknown (it was important to check an unknown cave for saber toothed tigers before strolling into it.) As a result, the ego fears change and craves security and stability. But because life is constantly changing, security and stability can only be temporary.” – Loving and Nurturing self on your Spiritual Path

Fear of the unknown is a natural, normal part of being human. It has a purpose – and deserves to be honored as something which serves us. But, like our relationship with all the aspects of our being, our relationship with that fear is dysfunctional.

The damaged ego responds to it’s programming by generating fear of the things we learned to fear as a child: making mistakes; doing it wrong; being emotional; speaking our Truth; taking risks; being alone; not being alone; whatever. We then empower the fear by focusing on it, magnifying it, and generally giving it the power to define us and our life – or by denying it, which also gives it power because in denying our fear we are denying our self and reality. Going to either extreme results in the inability to see the situation clearly.

Because our ego was programmed to react to life from fear, negativity, scarcity, and lack (again due to emotional trauma we experienced, and the messages and role modeling of the adults around us) the disease focuses on and magnifies fear – and then it scrambles around trying to find something to cover up and repress the very fear it is generating. The disease blows the fear way out of proportion and then leads us to addictive and/or compulsive behavior as a way of stuffing the fear.” – The Recovery Process for inner child healing – through the fear

“Learning to apply the Serenity Prayer has helped me to stop creating so much artificial stress in my life because I wasn’t accepting reality as it was being presented to me.  About 90% of the stress I used to experience in my life was artificially created – was created by my attitudes and expectations.  As I say in that journal entry:

“So, I accept whatever it is that I perceive as deprivation today – and make the best of today.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t generate stress for me.  But the stress is like the 3. earthquake as compared to the 8. earthquake that my perspective of life used to generate for me.”” – Serenity – Accepting the things we cannot change

1/19/17 – I added this last quote while publishing this on my blog today.  I have been neglecting this blog – apologies to all my followers.  The main reason is that I have been posting quotes and links on Facebook almost every day – and that is much easier than publishing these blog entries.  I will try to post more of these in the coming weeks but if you want to get an almost daily dose of my writing, sent me a Friend request on Facebook.

Sacred Spiral

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. It is learning to set internal boundaries that can help us stop living in fear of the future or regret about the past – and be more present to experience today.

The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes somespecial combination offers.

The Dance

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page – or you can get Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks through Amazon) really help people take their understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

DancingIn the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.Coversm-Arena I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2

Honesty like any other arena in recovery is not a black and white issue.  There are a multitude of levels to honesty, of perspectives in which to view the concept of honesty.  Emotional honesty is the one we are focusing on in this article, but intellectual honesty with ourselves is necessary in order to start becoming emotionally honest.

It is necessary to start seeing ourselves with more clarity in order to recognize the attitudes, beliefs, and definitions that are dictating our emotional reactions.  Once we start achieving more honesty in our perspectives of ourselves, then we can get more clarity in our emotional process.

For instance, until I started to recognize how I had been programmed to have a dysfunctional relationship with my own emotions because I am male, I could not start giving myself permission to get in touch with feelings which I had been programmed to believe were unacceptable for a man in this society.

There are numerous levels, relationships, that I had to start seeing with more clarity – getting more intellectually honest with myself about – before I could start changing my relationship in those arenas.

“Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation – which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.” – The True Nature of Love-part 4, Energetic Clarity 

The key in this regard for me, was expectations.  I had to start realizing how my expectations were dictating my emotional reactions in order to start changing my relationships with my own emotions.

“By having expectations I was giving power away. In order to become empowered I had to own that I had choices about how I viewed life, about my expectations. I realized that no one can make me feel hurt or angry – that it is my expectations that cause me to generate feelings of hurt or anger. In other words, the reason I feel hurt or anger is because other people, life, or God are not doing what I want them, expect them, to do.

I had to learn to be honest with myself about my expectations – so I could let go of the ones that were insane (like, everyone is going to drive the way I want them to), and own my choices – so I could take responsibility for how I was setting myself up to be a victim in order to change my patterns.” – Serenity and Expectations

The process of recovery is a journey of continual growth to larger perspectives, higher contexts in which to view everything.  Consciousness raising / enLightenment is a process of peeling away layers of denial to get to a Higher Consciousness / expanded perspective / deeper level of honesty.  The focus of this article is discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and I just realized that I need to say a few words about why it is so important – about why emotions are important.

Emotions = energy in motion

Feelings, emotions, are energy.

The Dance

“Emotions are energy:  E-motion = energy in motion.  It is supposed to be in motion, it was meant to flow.

Emotions have a purpose, a very good reason to be – even those emotions that feel uncomfortable.  Fear is a warning, anger is for protection, tears are for cleansing and releasing.  These are not negative emotional responses!  We were taught to react negatively to them.  It is our reaction that is dysfunctional and negative, not the emotion.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Emotions have two vitally important purposes for human beings.  Emotions are a form of communication.  Our feelings are one of the means by which we define ourselves.  The interaction of our intellect and our emotions determines how we relate to ourselves.

Our emotional energy is also the fuel that propels us down the pathways of our life journey.  E-motions are the orchestra that provide the music for our individual dances – that dictate the rhythmic flow and movement of our human dance.  Our feelings help us to define ourselves and then provide the combustible fuel that dictates the speed and direction of our motion – rather we are flowing with it or damming it up within ourselves.

“Emotional energy is not only supposed to be in motion, to flow, it is also the energy that gets us in motion.  It is what drives us, what propels us forward through life.  When emotional flow is blocked and suppressed it does not go away.  Energy cannot simply disappear.  It can transform but it cannot disappear.  That is a law of physics.

Emotional energy that is suppressed still drives us.  It is what causes obsessive-compulsive behavior, it is what drives addictions.  Repressed emotional energy builds up pressure that has to be released. . . . . .

Human beings are not damned with an n.  We are emotionally dammed.  Dammed up, blocked up – which is what causes us to feel damned with an n.”

“The emotional energy generated by the circumstances of our childhood and early life does not go away just because we were forced to deny it.  It is still trapped in our body – in a pressurized, explosive state, as a result of being suppressed. . . . . As long as we have pockets of pressurized emotional energy that we have to avoid dealing with – those emotional wounds will run our lives.” – Feeling the Feelings

The reason that it is so important to clear up our relationship with our own emotions, to learn to be emotionally honest with ourselves is because emotions are such a powerful part of our being, such a vital and controlling influence in how we live our lives.  The key to learning how to clear up that relationship and start to get some emotional clarity is learning how to have internal boundaries.

“Then we can start setting internal boundaries within the mental, between the mental and emotional, and within the emotional levels of our being. . . . . . .Within the mental we can start discerning and separating the shaming messages that are coming from the disease / critical parent voice from our own wisdom, knowledge and intelligence. . . . . .By learning to set a boundary between emotional and mental, we can stop reacting to life based on the false belief that what we feel is who we are – that what we feel defines our reality. . . . . . Once we start having boundaries within the mental, and between the mental and emotional, then we can also start having boundaries within the emotional level of our being. . . . . . .start discerning between the emotional truth that is coming from our old wounds and the emotional energy that is Truth.” – Inner child healing – the process of processing

It is necessary to learn to have a boundary within the emotional component of our being because there are two primary transformers from which emotional energy is generated.  Our ego self and our Spiritual Self.  Our ego was traumatized in childhood and programmed very dysfunctionally. The ego is the seat of the disease of codependence.

“The key to healing our wounded souls is to get clear and honest in our emotional process.  Until we can get clear and honest with our human emotional responses – until we change the twisted, distorted, negative perspectives and reactions to our human emotions that are a result of having been born into, and grown up in, a dysfunctional, emotionally repressive, Spiritually hostile environment – we cannot get clearly in touch with the level of emotional energy that is Truth.  We cannot get clearly in touch with and reconnected to our Spiritual Self.”

Our Spiritual Self is the True Self, the Higher Self that is an extension downward vibrationally from the ONENESS of the Source Energy.  Recovery is a process of reprogramming the ego defenses so that we can bring the ego self into alignment with Spiritual Self.  Spiritual Self is our guide through the Spiritual evolutionary process.  Our Spiritual Self communicates with us through our intuition.  Our intuition is emotional energy – an emotional energy communication from our Spirit.

“Truth, in my understanding, is not an intellectual concept.  I believe that Truth is an emotional-energy, vibrational communication to my consciousness, to my soul/spirit – my being, from my Soul.  Truth is an emotion, something that I feel within. . . . . It’s that gut feeling, the feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling of something resonating within me.”

It is very important to start developing internal boundaries so that we can start discerning between the emotional messages that are being generated by the disease, by our wounded self, and the messages that are coming from our Higher Self.

“What we feel is our “emotional truth” and it does not necessarily have anything to do with either facts or the emotional energy that is Truth with a capital “T” – especially when we are reacting out of an age of our inner child.”

Healthy Guilt and Unhealthy Guilt

A good example of this discernment process is guilt.  Guilt is a feeling – an emotional energy whose purpose is to communicate with our consciousness about our behavior.  It is important to make a distinction between healthy guilt and unhealthy guilt in relationship to discernment and emotional honesty.

In my definition shame is a term that relates to being (feeling that something is wrong with who we are, that our being is defective) – while guilt refers to behavior.

“We do not need fixing.  We are not broken.  Our sense of self, our self perception, was shattered and fractured and broken into pieces, not our True Self. . . .

We are not broken.  That is what toxic shame is – thinking that we are broken, believing that we are somehow inherently defective.

Guilt is “I made a mistake, I did something wrong.”

Shame is “I’m a mistake, something is wrong with me.””

Guilt is something we feel to help us be aware of our behavior.

Healthy guilt is what we feel when we violate our own value system.  It is an important intuitive component in maintaining a healthy, honest relationship with ourselves.  Guilt helps us to be aware of areas that needs some more healing – behavior that is a reaction to old wounds and old tapes.  It is generated by our Spirit when we have acted in ways which we need to make amends for, when our humanness has caused us to act in a way that does not respect and honor that we are ONE with everyone and everything.

Unhealthy guilt is when we feel guilty for violating someone else’s value system.  We were programmed to react to life based on value systems that were dysfunctional, codependent, and unhealthy.  We had imposed upon us, and programmed into our intellectual perspective and emotional reactions, value systems we learned from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us in childhood.  In order to survive, we adapted the value systems imposed upon us – even though they often did not make sense to us even then.

The critical parent voice developed in order to try to control our behavior and feelings using the same tools that were used on us – guilt, shame, and fear.  As a result of that programming, it is normal for us to feel guilty about violating those value system.  Thus in recovery when we start setting boundaries, saying no, speaking our truth, being emotionally honest, etc., feelings of guilt and shame are generated.

In recovery as we awaken to our power to make choices about our beliefs, we can start sorting out which values that we are holding resonate with Truth as we feel it intuitively – and which ones are a result of the old programming.  We can start practicing discernment in picking out the nuggets of Truth in the values we learned in childhood, from the twisted, dysfunctional, shame based beliefs.  Some of the values our parents held will also be our intuitive values.  Many will not because they were programmed in their childhoods.  Often we were taught values in theory that are Truth – but which in practice were not followed.  This was part of the crazy making inconsistency that caused us to think something was wrong with us.

“The teachings of all the Master Teachers, of all the world’s religions, contain some Truth along with a lot of distortions and lies.  Discerning Truth is often like recovering treasure from shipwrecks that have been sitting on the ocean floor for hundreds of years – the grains of Truth, the nuggets of gold, have become encrusted with garbage over the years.”

As we heal and awaken we get clearer on what our True values, the intuitive messages from our Spiritual Self, are – and can discern more often when we are experiencing unhealthy guilt so that we do not give it power.  As with any part of the process, our intuition is our guide.  Our minds have a great tendency to slip back into the polarized ruts of trying to figure out what is right and what is wrong – whereas our gut feelings will most often be coming from our intuition.

The more we are able to develop our observer self, the witness who is viewing our life and internal process from a recovery perspective, the easier it becomes for us to discern between guilt feelings that are healthy – and an important tool in helping us maintain some emotional balance and responsibility – and the unhealthy guilt of our old programming that we can let go of.

In her wonderful daily meditation book, Melody Beattie calls the unhealthy guilt and shame generated when we start to change to new healthier behavior “afterburn,” and talks about just letting it burn off without giving it power.  This is what I refer to as having a boundary between emotional and mental.  We can feel the guilt and recognize it as unhealthy so that we do not give the critical parent voice the power to get us into a frenzy of mental activity worrying if we have done something “wrong.”  We can talk to the child within us that is feeling guilty for setting a boundary and tell that child that it is good to set boundaries – that it is the Loving thing to do for ourselves.  (Melody Beattie’s The Language of Letting Go is an absolutely phenomenal book that I think everyone in recovery should have.  The Loving Spiritual belief system that is the foundation for her practical recovery advice is one that aligns with what I believe better than anything else I have ever read.)

Worry is negative fantasy

When I catch myself worrying about right and wrong, it is a sure sign that my disease is up and running – that I have slipped back into that rut.  When I become aware that my mind has gone into a right and wrong type feeding frenzy, it is usually because I have some feelings going on that are making me uncomfortable.  Very often, I am afraid of what the consequences of my choice will be – the outcome of the actions I have set in motion.  Sometimes, I am sad that I had to set a boundary.  Whatever I am feeling, it is better for me to get in touch with the feeling than to be in my head in a frenzy of worry.

Worry is negative fantasizing.  It is a fantasy that is being created in reaction to feeling fear.  It is not real – it is something that is being created because my mind has slipped into the old familiar rut of right and wrong thinking.  Worry is not a feeling – it is a reaction, an negative emotional state, that is created by the perspectives of a belief system that empowers illusions like failure.  The sooner that we can pull ourselves out of that rut and start seeing the situation as part of a learning process – shift back into a recovery perspective – the less negative emotional response we will generate in relationship to the situation.

Emotions do not have value in and of themselves – they just are.  What gives emotions value is how we react to them.  We were programmed to react negatively to emotions and adapted defenses to try to keep from feeling emotional energy.  Being in our head worrying about the past or the future, is a defense against being in our own skin and feeling our feelings.  But it is dysfunctional – it does not work.  Reacting negatively to our feelings generates more feelings.   The more we worry, the more fear we generate.  We create negative feeling emotional states because we are empowering negative perspectives of life.

“We are talking about balance between the emotional and mental here again.  Blame has to do with attitudes, with buying into the false beliefs – it does not really have anything to do with the process of releasing the emotional energy.”

Worry, like blame (and such things as resentment, despair, and self pity), is a negative emotional state that is created by the intellectual paradigm that we are filtering our life experience through, that we are allowing to interpret and translate life for us.  The more we try to avoid the discomfort of feeling fear or sadness or anger, the more emotional energy we generate in relationship to whatever situation we are reacting to.  It is a really dysfunctional, viscous cycle if our goal is to be happy and at peace.  For the disease it is a functional cycle because it creates justification for rescuing ourselves by going unconscious using some self abusive behavior – which then creates more shame, which creates more judgment, which creates more fear, which creates more worry, etc., etc.

“As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are giving power to the disease.  We are feeding the monster that is devouring us.”

When I catch myself worrying then I know that I am not being emotionally honest with myself.  Worry is a symptom that tells me I am avoiding some feelings.

The key is to be aware of when we slip back into those ruts of right and wrong thinking so that we can use our recovery tools to pull us out of the rut and get back into balance.  We need to let go of the perspectives or expectation that are causing us more fear.  We need to own the feelings instead of trying to avoid them – because trying to avoid them just generates more of them.

When I catch myself worrying it is very important not to judge myself for it.  What I need to do is be patient and kind and compassionate towards myself.  I can catch myself, take a couple of deep breaths and say something to myself like:

Oh here I am worrying.  I must be afraid.  I am feeling fear about of the outcome of this situation.  I have bought into the belief that if this does not come out the way I want it to, I am not going to be OK.   It is time to stop and remember that I have a Loving Higher Power who is in charge of outcomes.  That everything will work out in the way which is best for my growth process.  I need to remember to be willing to surrender to the Divine Plan of my Loving Higher Power.  I need to let go of those old beliefs in lack and scarcity.  I need to remind myself that I don’t have the power to screw up the Goddess’s plan.  That whatever happens will be an opportunity for growth – not a mistake.

Then I may need to specifically deal with some inner child wounds – “How old am I feeling right now.” – letting the detective / observer part of me track down why this situation in particular is carrying a lot of charge for me.  There may be some grief work to do.  I may also need to own that I am angry at my Higher Power because I am in a situation again that causes fear – or sadness, or hurt.  A situation that resonates with the energy of one of my core issues – abandonment, betrayal, deprivation, abuse, isolation, etc.

Any time I am worrying, I am back into right and wrong thinking.  That tells me that I am not being emotionally honest with myself and that I have gotten out of balance, that my vision is being clouded by reactions from the past.  Balance is the key.  We are striving for a balance between mental and emotional, between intuitive and rational.  It is feeling clear that will show us our path, not deciding what is right or wrong.

“And once again here, I want to make the point that clarity with our self is not an absolute destination.  This healing is a gradual process of finding a sense of balance – a sense of what clarity feels like, so that we can look for and recognize when we have it and when we do not.   In order to do that it is vital to learn how to be emotionally honest with ourselves so that we can be discerning in our relationship with our own mental and emotional process. Through that honesty we will achieve some energetic clarity as well.

Through that energetic clarity we will be able to access Love from the Source – and we will learn to Love and trust our Self to guide our self through this boarding school that is life as a human.” – The True Nature of Love-part 4, Energetic Clarity  

Honesty with others

We need to strive for emotional honesty with our self and for our self – because being honest with ourselves is what works best to help us see our self and life most clearly.  It is the most Loving thing to do for ourselves.

It is also important for us to learn to practice discernment in relationship to how honest we are with other people.  It is almost always the best policy, the strategy that works best in the long run, to be direct and honest with others.  That does not necessarily mean emotionally honest.  And it does not necessarily mean we need to tell them the whole truth, be honest on all levels.

While I was writing this article I took a break to go for a walk by the ocean.  On that walk, my Higher Power presented me with a perfect example of the point I am making here.

I ran into someone I know from AA and had not seen for a couple of months.  This is a person that I like and I am happy to see when I run into her.  She has around thirty years of sobriety.  But she is not involved in the emotional healing, in codependence recovery.  She knows I have a book out, and asks me about it when we see each other – but I would never expect her to read it.

The AA community in the small town that I live in has a very high percentage of people with long term sobriety.   Many of them are people who retired here from Los Angeles or Fresno and other places.  They are old time AA people who are so black and white in their thinking that they get upset if someone mentions drugs in an Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  Needless to say, they do not think that codependence has any place in their lives or their meetings.  I can share in these meetings using AA language and people will tell me how much they get from my sharing – but if I use the C word (codependence) I can almost hear the snap of the minds closing around the room.

As a result I do not go to a lot of AA meetings here.  Inevitably, I walk away from a meeting here feeling sad about the level of emotional dishonesty I observe – or sometimes angry about rigid, judgmental statements or behavior.  My main meeting here in town – besides a CoDA meeting that I started and am secretary for – is a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in which it is OK to talk about anything and the people laugh a lot.

So, I ran into this woman from AA on my walk, and she said to me, “I haven’t seen you around for awhile.”  This is AA language for “Why haven’t I seen you at any meetings?”  And coming from many people in Alcoholics Anonymous carries more than a hint of accusation in it.

I told her that I was doing a lot of phone counseling and the appointments were often in the evenings.  I mentioned that the NA meeting was the one I made it to most often.  I said that I had been meaning to make it to the Friday night meeting – and I have, and will, one of these days.

I answered her honestly without telling the whole truth or being emotionally honest.  There was no reason to share my feelings about the meetings that she attends – because she had not asked for my opinion.  People in AA have the same uncanny ability that my family members and many other people out there in the world have – they have a way of avoiding asking direct questions whose answers might make them uncomfortable.   I have learned that part of having good boundaries for me includes not offering opinions to, or being emotionally honest with, people who do not want to hear it.

That AA person falls into the category of what I call a “friendly acquaintance.”  Someone who I am glad to see, feel some affection for, feel a bond to as a fellow recovering alcoholic – but someone who will probably never be a real friend.  If she were ever to come to me and ask for my advice or opinion – I would happily share with her.  The chances are that will never happen.

I have found it important to have boundaries in terms of how I view other people.  If I have one or two people in my life that I feel that I can truly communicate with and be emotionally honest with on all levels, that is an incredible abundance.  For much of my recovery I have not had anyone who fell into that category.  That is sad, but it is a reality that I have needed to accept.  As I have said elsewhere, an important part of empowerment is seeing reality as it is and making the best of it – rather than putting energy into wishing it was different.  If I get caught up in wishing it were different, in the “what if”s and “if only”s, then I am empowering a victim perspective which can lead to self pity.  (Grieving, owning the sadness, is very different from self pity which – as I mention above -is an emotional state based upon limiting victim beliefs.)

It has been very helpful to me, to accept that people are where they are at – and that it is OK.  I have learned to let go of my old pattern of sacrificing myself in the now for the potential of the future.  Often I can see who a person really is, and understand their potential – which on my deepest level of honesty usually means their potential to be an asset in my life – but need to accept that they are perfectly where they are supposed to be in their process.  I need to accept that, in order not to buy into the illusion that they are doing something to me – that I am the victim of the pace of their process, of their inability to be who I want them to be now.

This was especially important in terms of letting go of expecting my family of origin to change.  They are not who I want them to be, they don’t understand me and can’t see me.  It isn’t personal – they are just dancing with their wounds and following their path.  It is not for me to judge someone else’s path.  Letting go – especially in terms of doing the inner child grieving about letting go of the myth of family – and accepting, was a necessary component in being able to have a friendly, superficial relationship with my family today.  Superficial is what they are capable of – I needed to accept that and make the best of the situation.

In terms of friends, there are going to be people in my life, who I can share certain things with – but not other things.  Some people that I can relate to on certain levels, or about certain issues.  To expect that I can be emotionally honest with everyone in my life in a way that works (is safe, is heard, is understood) is an insane expectation in such a dysfunctional society with relatively so few people actually doing the healing work.

(I want to make a point here also, that when I say “safe” in terms of being emotionally honest, I am talking about what will work best.  In earlier recovery, when I was still giving a lot of power to the old wounds and old tapes, it could feel devastating to me to have someone judge and shame me.  Then safe referred to danger, to people who would judge and shame me.  It also meant people who would try to fix me.  Trying to fix someone else is not support, it is codependence.  When someone starts trying to rescue me it imparts a judgment on where I am at – it means they are not comfortable so they are going to try to change me to make themselves comfortable.  This is tied into the what I was speaking of above about offering advice or opinions to someone who hasn’t asked.  It can be a form of abuse.

As I have gotten healthier in recovery, with more capacity to be balanced and see life with some clarity – other people and life events have less power to effect me.  The more I am grounded in the Spiritual belief system I have integrated into my internal process, and have done my inner child healing – the less power any of my old buttons hold. The better I have become at letting go, the shorter the periods of time have become that I am giving others the power to rock my emotional boat.  The term safe for me transformed into meaning something more like: safe from wasting time and energy trying to communicate with someone who can not hear.  To get into an argument, a power struggle over right and wrong, with someone who doesn’t speak my language is dysfunctional – is actually, pretty silly.

Pay Attention

The primary purpose and most important reason for me to share my feelings with anyone is because I need to do it for me – to take care of me.  In order to be emotionally healthy I need to express and release my feelings – but that does not mean that I have to necessarily express those feelings to the person involved.  The farther along I get in recovery, the more I have the tools and resources I need to do my healing internally where it really matters, the less need I have to share my feelings with people who can’t hear me.

The secondary purpose of being emotionally honest with another person is to develop emotional intimacy with that person.  If the other person is not capable of emotional honesty, then I am setting myself up – empowering expectations that are not realistic.

Of course, when we first meet someone we do not have any data to base a discerning decision upon.  We gather data by paying attention.  The more we heal, the more ability we have to be in the moment and pay attention.  People give us signs and signals about themselves right from our first contact with them.  The most Loving thing we can do for ourselves, the most functional behavior, is to be present and pay attention.

So, we observe.  We pay attention not just to what they are saying, but also to their body language, their eye contact, the feelings we get in our gut while interacting with them.

As I state in the quote above, we are never going to meet someone who doesn’t have some red flags.  Everyone we meet is going to be someone who is a teacher of some kind.  By paying attention, it is possible to choose rather we want to explore our connection to them further or rather this is a opportunity to set a boundary with ourselves about where to expend our time and energy.

If we discern that we do not feel comfortable with seeing this person again, we can be direct and honest with them – without necessarily being emotionally honest.

We do not have to say, for example:  You scare me because it appears that you are not really hearing what I am saying to you, that you are unable to be conscious and present.  (This would almost certainly engender a defensive reaction from the other person and lead to more time and energy expended)

We do not have to lie to them either:  I am so busy this week.  Maybe later in the month. (This sets us up to keep putting them off.)

We can say something like:  Sorry, but I am very busy these days and just do not have time to hang out.

So, we tell a little fib by saying we are sorry when we probably aren’t – and we do not tell the whole truth which is:  I choose not to hang out with someone unless I see the possibility of a healthy relationship with them, or sense a strong connection that I feel a need to explore.

And then we do not have to explain.  We do not have to explain ourselves to anyone unless we choose to.  We have a right to make choices without having to justify them or defend ourselves.

This is, of course, one of those places where it is important to be able to recognize that any guilt feelings that might arise, and cause us to feel we have to explain, are most likely unhealthy guilt – codependent reactions to being programmed to feel responsible for other people’s feelings.

There are many people out there whose codependent defense system falls into what I describe in my book as bulldozers.  The will push and push and push.  They will demand explanations.

You do not owe them an explanation.  With bulldozers it is often necessary to get down right rude with them before they will hear us.  Anyone who pushes against a boundary we set is obviously someone that we may want to choose not to be around.  If someone gets pushy, then we can say something like: “I don’t want to see you again because you don’t respect the boundary that I just set.”

Confrontations

Many of us, of course, have a real terror of conflict – either because we have inner children who are terrified of someone else’s anger, and/or because we are programmed to feel responsible for other people’s feelings and have great fear of hurting others.

What is important is to start being honest with ourselves.  To say you didn’t want to tell the other person the truth because it would hurt their feelings is codependent.  The truth is we didn’t want to tell them because we wanted to protect ourselves from feeling codependently responsible for hurting their feelings.  It is not about them – it is about us.

To avoid setting boundaries because we are afraid of the other persons anger, is a set up to be a doormat and a victim.  It is deadly to our own self respect.  It usually means we are reacting out of an inner child wound.  As children we had to learn to not have boundaries in order to survive.  As adults, it is our responsibility to our self and to our inner children to start setting boundaries in order to become empowered in our life.

As I stated in my article on setting personal boundaries, we not only need to set them, we need to be willing to defend them.  Defending our right to set boundaries means knowing we do not have to justify or explain.  The chances are the other person will react defensively, take our boundary personally, and push for an explanation.  We do not owe them an explanation.  One of the reasons we learned to fear confrontations, was because of how unpleasant power struggles over who is right and who is wrong can be.  Defending our right to set boundaries, means learning (a gradual, stumbling process) to stand up for ourselves and say: “No!  I do not have to explain myself to you.” (This of course, also applies to our feelings.  We do not have to justify how we feel to anyone.)

People come into our lives to help us learn about ourselves.  The people who will feel hurt when we say no to them, are people who are helping us get in touch with dysfunctional beliefs about being responsible for other people’s feelings.  They are helping us get in touch with some inner child wounds, and practice letting go of unhealthy guilt.

People who are bulldozers, whose anger we are afraid of, are teachers that force us to learn to stand up for ourselves.  Without them we would never have to learn how to set and defend boundaries.

These types of confrontations are opportunities for growth.  The more we grow the more we have a choice to avoid these confrontations by being honest with ourselves so that we can employ the strategy that works best.  What works best – to help us keep from expending our time and energy on people that we choose not to invest our self in – is to set a boundary and be direct up front.

It takes a great deal of courage in recovery to start standing up for ourselves.  To start saying no straight out instead of making excuses and vague promises that we do not intend to keep.  Learning to be more honest in our interactions is a process that we evolve through – not something to judge ourselves about.

Sometimes we go through stages where we need to come from a pretty black and white extreme.  As I said, we go through stages in the growth process.

I had very powerful patterns of avoiding conflict.  Those arose out of the traumatic effect my fathers raging had on me, and the emotional incest from my mother that caused me to feel responsible for the feelings of others.

I had a great ability to intellectually rationalize away the need to stand up for myself.  There were always multiple reasons I could come up with to rationalize why the other person was acting that way – or why it wouldn’t do any good to stand up for myself.  The first instance was masked as unhealthy codependent “compassion” – which wasn’t really about them at all, but was about protecting me.  And the second was about manipulation – about what strategy would best protect me, get me what I wanted.

There was a stage in my process where I had to let go of trying to figure it out intellectually, let go of strategy, let go of trying to be discerning – and just make the first priority stopping the emotional and verbal abuse.  I needed to make protecting myself the first priority.  That meant that I shared my feelings anytime someone said something to me that felt abusive.  That meant that I reacted out of unresolved grief and anger from the past in my reactions to people.  That often meant I had to go back and make amends later.

It was an important phase in my process.  I went from having no honest boundaries – to throwing up boundaries and spewing my feelings everywhere with everyone – and then was able to move through that stage to a point where I had more choices.

It may be dysfunctional to share your feelings with your boss or a parent – but it might be a necessary part of owning yourself to do just that.  The more we heal the more discernment we can practice in where, when, and to whom we are emotionally honest.

As I have stated elsewhere, we need to own our feelings and set boundaries as a way of Loving ourselves, being a friend to our self – not to obtain a certain outcome.  When we set boundaries, we let go of the outcome.

Which doesn’t mean that we do not want the outcome – it means that we choose to take care of ourselves and take a risk that the outcome will not be what we want.  It is very important to take risks in recovery.  The purpose of getting emotionally honest with ourselves and owning our responsibilities is so that we can make better choices about the risks we choose to take.

Discerning strategy and letting go

As I said in part 1 of this discussion, we are learning how to live in balance, in the gray area of life.  We are learning that there are numbers 2 through 9 instead of just 1 and 10.

We need to learn to be emotionally honest with ourselves – and direct and honest with others – in a way that works for us.  Having a healthy relationship with our self involves living according to value system that we resonate with – living with integrity.

We want to own our feelings and release them in a healthy way that works to help us have some balance in our life.  We are learning how to stop giving power to the old wounds so that we do not behave in a manner which is harmful to us – the “I’ll show you, I’ll get me!” patterns of codependence.

That involves seeing ourselves and our lives as clearly and honestly as possible – and responding to other people and life events by making the best choices possible.

To be angry at your boss and be emotionally honest about that anger – could be dysfunctional to your well being.  Could get you fired.

It is important to own that anger and release it in a healthy way – through talking a friend or in a twelve step meeting, through doing anger release work, etc.  We also need to look at how we are setting ourselves up to generate that anger – take responsibility for our part in the situation.   We do that by getting in touch with any victim perspective we are empowering (the “I have to go to work” victimization we are taught in our society – Empowerment and Victimization – the power of choice) and observing any childhood wounds that are involved so that we can focus on the real cause instead of just the presenting symptom.

We also want to own all of our choices, rather than just the 1 or 10 of being the poor self righteous victim or exploding in profanity and quitting.  We can look at our choices 2 through 9, and decide upon the strategy that will work best for us.  If we decide that we need to quit the job, we can choose to have another one lined up when we quit – choose the time that works best for self instead of reacting in a way that hurts our self.

We can learn to respond to situations with discernment that allows us to make choices about what is in our best interests.  We can choose a strategy that is most likely to have an outcome that will work for us.

We need to let go of thinking we can control the outcome.  We need to not allow our fear of the outcome to cause us to be emotionally dishonest with ourselves.  But letting go of the outcome does not mean abrogating our responsibility as co-creators of our life.  We have responsibility for the actions we choose to put in motion – and we want to be discerning and choose the best strategy possible to get us what we want – but ultimately we need to have faith that taking care of ourselves will lead us to someplace better.  We need to surrender to whatever outcome the Universal Plan has next for us in our lesson plan of Spiritual growth and emotional healing.

Recovery keeps getting different

While we are in the process of learning how to be emotionally honest and emotionally responsible we will go through different stages of growth.  And we will be in process for the rest of our lives – on progressively more advanced and usually subtler levels.  This process is why we are here, it is not something we do and then get on with our lives.  Growing, learning, healing, awakening to our True Spiritual nature so that we can integrate that Truth into our relationship with our selves and life – is what this adventure in body is all about.

When I first got into recovery I was told that “it keeps getting better.”  That has not been my emotional experience of recovery.  As I talk about in my article about Loving and Nurturing self,  the process of life involves falling apart, losing it, etc. – as we reach new levels of growth and have to surrender some of our old ego definitions.  So, from a higher perspective, a Spiritual growth perspective – yes, it does keep progressing and getting better once we start making the shift of seeing life as a growth process.  It sure doesn’t feel that way however.

A couple of other things that I was told in early recovery have more closely matched my experience of the process.  “More Will Be Revealed” and “it will keep getting different” are two expressions that have always been true for me.  Every time a new layer of the onion gets peeled, a new octave gets reached – more is revealed on a deeper emotional level with a higher degree of honesty.  That higher level changes my perspective of my self, of life, of the past, of other people -which changes my relationship to my issues. Surrendering my old ideas and old tapes does not just mean letting go of the programming from childhood – sometimes it means letting go of what I thought was truth 2 weeks ago.

We are a work in progress.  There is no destination.  We have different chapters to our story, different stages of our journey – but our relationships with everything keep evolving and changing.

That includes our relationship to our own emotions.  In early recovery, when I was trying to get in touch with and own my feelings, I would often say “That makes me angry,” or “That hurts,” – not because I was actually feeling the feelings, but rather because I knew that it was appropriate to feel a feeling in that situation.

Later, as I got in touch with the emotional energy that was in my body, it would often explode out of me.  So that I would say, “I feel angry” when I was really feeling, and expressing, rage.

It was progress for me to express that I was angry and actually feel the anger at the same time.  Because of that, I often expressed that anger in ways that were out of balance and inappropriate.  That was a stage of my growth process.

Getting in touch with the feelings eventually caused me to get in touch with my grief and rage.  It was impossible for me to start owning my feelings without eventually owning the repressed feelings from my past.  So there were times when my expression of feelings would be very out of proportion to the stimulus that was triggering those emotional releases.  That is an inevitable part of the path.

One of my ways of trying to control the feelings was to be in my head trying to figure out what was happening and how to express it in a healthy way.  In the process of pushing myself beyond the mental defenses of rationalizing, intellectualizing, analyzing, etc., it was impossible to be in balance and healthy in all of my expressions of emotion.

The more I did my grief and rage work, and changed the dysfunctional perspectives that were setting me up for emotional responses, the more emotionally balanced and responsible I could become.   But it is a process that evolves over time.

It was progress in early recovery for me to start vocalizing feelings even though I wasn’t actually feeling them.  To say, “I am angry,” to own my right to be angry – was a breakthrough.

It was progress to vocalize the feelings at the same time I was owning and feeling them – even though that caused me to overreact and explode at times.  To say, “I am angry” while sounding angry and really feeling angry was a breakthrough.

It was progress to take responsibility for my feelings so that I could use the tools I had learned to feel and release the feelings in my own way, at my own time – so that at times, I wouldn’t have to actually be angry when I was expressing those feelings to someone else.  To say, “That caused me to feel angry” without actually being angry while I said it – was a breakthrough.

See how things spiral around?  Vocalizing a feeling without feeling it – was in early recovery a symptom of my level of emotional dishonesty.  While as my recovery advanced, vocalizing a feeling without feeling it at that moment – could be a symptom of emotional balance.

The energy of those two examples, was however, very different.  Prior to having owned my rage, saying I was angry without feeling it did not carry much power.  After having done grief and rage work, and having owned the power that comes from owning my feelings, when I told someone that some behavior of theirs had made me angry, they heard me much more clearly.  By owning my feelings, I was owning and respecting myself.  The more I own and respect myself, the more clearly I can communicate.  Now when I set a boundary, I can usually do it firmly from a place of power and strength that lets the other person know that I will defend that boundary.  I can communicate strength without ever sounding angry.

Once we start to become grounded in the powerful energy of our True Self, once we start respecting ourselves and Knowing that we have rights, then we start to be capable of communicating from a place of power that does not require raising our voice to be heard.  The more we are centered and balanced in Truth, the more we are able to perceive the gray area where we can own our side of the street and hold other people responsible for theirs, the more we can communicate in a manner which maximizes the possibility of being seen and heard.  (Of course, we are powerless over others and need to be willing to let go of the outcome, so there is no guarantee about how the other will react/respond. Accept the things we cannot change – change the things we can, take responsibility for ourselves and our side of the street.)

Progress not Perfection

It is important to look at our process from the perspective of the progress we have made rather than trying to do it perfectly.  In making progress we have to breakthrough to new ways of doing things.  We need to explore new territory and give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves in whatever way is necessary.  That sometimes involves swinging to the other extreme so that we end up having to make amends for how we expressed ourselves.  It is important to celebrate our progress and not shame and judge ourselves for any mess that the way we breakthrough may entail.

An example of the point I am trying to make here, is the story of a client I worked with some years ago.  This person was a social worker who was very good at doing her job.  In the role she was playing at work she could be fierce and have strong boundaries.  In her personal life however, she had no permission to have any boundaries at all because of her childhood wounds.  My homework assignment for her was to tell someone to F___ off.  I chose something so harsh because it was so out of character for her.  She was appalled and horrified at the thought of saying something like that to someone.  It was not even conceivable to her because it was so contrary to the self definition she had adapted in childhood.

One of the reasons that I give people assignments is to expand their consciousness, to give them permission to act in ways they would never consider.   It took her about 3 months before she completed the assignment – and when she did, she said it to the biggest cop in town at a professional gathering.  She was horrified that she had done it.  I was very excited for her and heaped congratulations on her.  The point was, she had stood up for herself spontaneously.  I told her that she could go back and make amends for how she expressed herself – but that it was a wonderful breakthrough that she had defended herself.

That particular expression may be one that she will never in her life use again – and it certainly is not an example of the way in which we are learning to communicate.  The breakthrough was that she had started to respect herself enough to be willing to go to any length to defend herself.  She spontaneously set a boundary and communicated that another persons behavior was not acceptable to her.

The more we heal our core relationship with ourselves, the more we start to respect and Love ourselves, the more we start automatically and spontaneously owning our right to speak up and set boundaries.  Often when we are breaking out of the old patterns, jumping out of the old ruts, we will swing to the other extreme.  That doesn’t mean we are going to stay there.  It means we are doing a paradigm shift in our relationship with self and others.  It means we have broken through to a different way of doing things.

In recovery, our experience of life keeps getting different.

“When I talk about ways that we use to go unconscious – like workaholism, or exercise, or food, or whatever – I am not saying that you should be ashamed if you are doing some of these things.

We cannot go from unconscious to conscious overnight!  This healing is a long gradual process.  We all still need to go unconscious sometimes.  Recovery is a dance that celebrates progress, not one that achieves perfection.

A significant breakthrough in my personal process came when I was able to recognize, and give myself credit for, the progress that I had made – when I realized that a pint of Haagen-daz was lasting me three days instead of being gone within twenty minutes of when I bought it.

That was a very big breakthrough for me, to be able to give myself credit for the progress instead of judging and shaming myself for not being perfect, for still feeling like I needed the nurturing of ice cream.

We had to learn to go unconscious in order to survive!  Thank God for alcohol or television or romance novels.  Thank God for ice cream!

We need to stop judging ourselves – that means allowing ourselves to do whatever it takes, whatever works.  There are times when we need to go unconscious.  There are times when we need to stuff our feelings in the moment.  There are times when it is not safe to be vulnerable and emotionally honest.

This Recovery process is a gradual transition from using our old tool box to using the new tools.  The old tools – the ways we used to go unconscious so we could survive – are not  “bad” or “wrong.”  They were life savers – without them we would be either dead or mass murderers, or dead mass murderers.

We adopted the old tools because they were the best choices that were available to us at the time.  We adopted them in response to intuitive impulses that were right on.   Those impulses were “protect myself, nurture myself.”  It is the nature of the defense system that is Codependence that the ways we learned to protect and nurture ourselves are self-abusive in the long run.

So we need to stop shaming ourselves for the behaviors that we adopted to protect and nurture ourselves, at the same time that we are transitioning to behaviors that are less self-abusive.

Notice that I say less self-abusive.  We are talking progress, not perfection here.

If you have an image of what completely healthy behavior is, and you will not allow yourself to accept and Love yourself until you get there, then you are setting conditions under which you decide when you will become Lovable.  You are still buying into a concept of conditional love and by extension, the concept of a Higher Power that is conditionally loving.  You are still trying to earn, and become worthy of not only self-Love, but also God’s Love.  That small child inside of you is still trying to earn your parents’ Love and validation.

That is a natural, normal thing for humans beings on this Codependent planet.  Try not to judge and beat yourself up for it.  Try to observe it and say, “Oh, isn’t it sad that I am still doing that?  I think I will try to learn some ways that I can change it.”” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 5 Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2

Sacred Spiral

This is the fifth in a series of articles on Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility that I wrote in 2001 – 15 years ago, Wow. The first was Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility  The next three I have already published on this Blog: Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 – Uncover, Discover, Recover by learning boundaries,  Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 3 ~ Setting Personal Boundaries -protecting self, and Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 4 Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page) really help people take their understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

DancingIn the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth.Coversm-Arena I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1

The Dance

“Learning discernment is vital – not just in terms of the choices we make about who to trust, but also in terms of our perspective, our attitudes.

We learned about life as children and it is necessary to change the way we intellectually view life in order to stop being the victim of the old tapes. By looking at, becoming conscious of, our attitudes, definitions, and perspectives, we can start discerning what works for us and what does not work. We can then start making choices about whether our intellectual view of life is serving us – or if it is setting us up to be victims because we are expecting life to be something which it is not.

One of the core characteristics of this disease of Codependence is intellectual polarization – black and white thinking. Rigid extremes – good or bad, right or wrong, love it or leave it, one or ten. Codependence does not allow any gray area – only black and white extremes.

Life is not black and white. Life involves the interplay of black and white. In other words, the gray area is where life takes place. A big part of the healing process is learning the numbers two through nine – recognizing that life is not black and white.

Life is not some kind of test, that if we fail, we will be punished. We are not human creatures who are being punished by an avenging god. We are not trapped in some kind of tragic place out of which we have to earn our way by doing the “right” things.

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience. We are here to learn. We are here to go through this process that is life. We are here to feel these feelings.” – Text in this color are quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

One Through Ten

When I first got sober in early 1984, my mind was mush. I couldn’t read and comprehend a page in the AA Big Book for months. After three or four months, one of the signs I got that my mind was coming back was that I was able to start working crossword puzzles. It was a tremendous relief to find out that tequila hadn’t killed so many brain cells that my mind couldn’t recover.

I mention this because it points out what a tremendous impact something that I heard in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in my first 60 days of sobriety had to have on me for me to have a very clear memory of it all of these years later. It was obviously something that resonated as Truth so strongly that it cut through my fog enshrouded brain to my core.

This was in Lincoln Nebraska where I had gone through a 30 day treatment program after an intervention by my family on New Years Day. What I think of as a grizzled old timer (although I really have no idea what the guy looked like or how old he was) shared a simile about how his mind worked. He said, “My mind is like a dirt road out in the country that got really muddy – with some really deep ruts in it – and then the ground froze. It is real hard to drive down that road straddling those ruts without slipping back into them. And once I slip into them it is hard to get out again.”

Having grown up on a farm on dirt roads in the part country where spring means lots and lots of mud – where snow storms and frozen ruts are common into May – I really knew what he was talking about. And obviously, the comparison to the way my mind works hit home with me.

The reason that this story has anything to do with Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility, is because those ruts are still there. They are not nearly as deep now, but my thinking will slip into some of the old patterns / ruts very easily without me noticing until something happens to draw my attention to it.

The old pattern/programming that pops up the most is the rut of black and white thinking. Slipping into a perspective that only recognizes the extremes of 1 or 10. (The black and white perspective is the foundation of the blame them or blame me, victim of them or victim of my own shameful defectiveness, extremes that govern the dynamics of the disease of codependency.)

A conversation with a friend yesterday caused me to realize that I had slipped back into that old rut again in relationship to the idea of having a romantic relationship. The rut for me in respect to romance is for my thinking to be either (1) I will never have another romantic relationship, or (10) we will move in together and be fully immersed in the relationship. A watered down, less powerful version of the choices I learned in childhood from my role models – either completely unavailable or completely enmeshed.

My thinking, in relationship to a relationship, is much healthier and more balanced than it used to be – but it still tends towards the extremes within the spectrum of what is possible. It feels more natural for me to completely let go of the idea of having a romantic relationship or to think in terms of what it is going to be like when we are living together then to think in terms of getting to know someone gradually. Kind of like, either pretend the water isn’t there, or dive into the deep end without looking first to see what may be just under the surface.

It is easier for me emotionally to not even consider going in the water than to gradually ease myself into the shallow water – because if I am even looking at the water it gets me in touch with grief about being alone. The abyss of wish-to-die pain and desperate loneliness from my childhood – the deprivation issues that I spent so much of my life either denying or allowing to run my life – do not have anywhere near the power they used to because of the healing I have done. It is relatively easy now for me to separate out the childhood feelings of loneliness – and they do not any longer have a life threatening feeling of desperation to them. But I also have been very deprived in my adult life – of Love, companionship, affection, touch, sexual fulfillment, etc. – because of the patterns caused by my fear of intimacy. So the grief around those deprivation issues still has some power because the deprivation is still happening.

The healthier we get, the more emotional healing we do, the less extreme our emotional reaction / response spectrum grows. The growth process works kind of like a pendulum swinging. The less we buy into the toxic shame and judgment, the less extreme the swings of the pendulum become. The arc of our emotional pendulum becomes gentler, and we can return to emotional balance much quicker and easier. But we don’t get to stay in the balance position. Life is always rocking our boat – setting our emotional pendulum to swinging. By not taking life events and other peoples behavior so seriously and personally, by observing our process with some degree of detachment instead of getting so hooked into the trauma drama soap opera victimology that is a reaction to our childhood wounds, we learn to not give so much power over our emotions to outside influences and events.

I have choices today in regard to how I am relating to myself, to other people, to life. I am able to accept the things I cannot change much more quickly, and change the primary thing which I have the power to change – that is, my attitude toward the things I cannot change – so that I do not get caught up in a victim perspective. By not buying into the illusion that I am a victim – of myself, of other people, of life – my emotional swings stay on a much evener keel and I experience a much gentler emotional spectrum in my day to day relationship with life.

But it is still a spectrum, and as such involves swings between extremes. Those extremes are less powerful reflections / reverberations of the wildly divergent extremes my process used to involve. To maintain some balance in my life, to keep owning that I am not a victim – that I do have choices – it is important to shine some Light onto the gray area between the black and the white extremes, to be aware of the 2 through 9 options.

Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility

The purpose of this article is to shine some Light on the gray areas of emotional honesty and responsibility. Until we get aware that there are choices in between 1 and 10, then we don’t have a choice. As long as we bouncing between black and white, we miss the gray area entirely. The gray area is where life takes place. It is important for anyone in recovery to become aware of all of their choices – of 2 through 9 – so that we can see ourselves and life as clearly as possible.

We all have a set of ruts in the pathways of our mind that cause us to slip back into old thinking patterns and perspectives, that cause us to give power to old tapes. Those ruts do not change as we heal – they get shallower and easier to get out of – but they don’t go away completely. As we heal our basic underlying patterns don’t change substantially, we just get healthier in those patterns.

“We are never going to meet someone who doesn’t have red flags, who isn’t wounded – the healthy behavior is to pay attention and take responsibility for our choices. To take calculated risks that will not be “mistakes” or “wrong” but lessons. The more conscious we get of our choices, the more we release the grief energy / take power away from the childhood wounds – the more we can trust our self to listen to our intuition instead of the disease yammering in our head.

And we are never going to completely change our basic patterns – we get healthier within those patterns. If you are attracted to alcoholics – then progress is getting involved with a recovering alcoholic. We are attracted to certain energies for reasons in alignment with The Divine Plan – our choices in the past felt like mistakes because we weren’t aware that we were at boarding school learning lessons.” – The Emotional Dynamics of Dysfunctional Romantic Relationships

“We, in our Codependence, have radar systems which cause us to be attracted to, and attract to us, the people, who for us personally, are exactly the most untrustworthy (or unavailable or smothering or abusive or whatever we need to repeat our patterns) individuals – exactly the ones who will “push our buttons.”

This happens because those people feel familiar. Unfortunately in childhood the people whom we trusted the most – were the most familiar – hurt us the most. So the effect is that we keep repeating our patterns and being given the reminder that it is not safe to trust ourselves or other people.

Once we begin healing we can see that the Truth is that it is not safe to trust as long as we are reacting out of the emotional wounds and attitudes of our childhoods. Once we start Recovering, then we can begin to see that on a Spiritual level these repeating behavior patterns are opportunities to heal the childhood wounds.”

Romantic relationships are one issue that can be discussed in relationship to the rutted perspective of black and white thinking. All of our issues can be discussed in relationship to certain dynamic patterns of the disease – polarized black and white thinking is the primary, foundation rut upon which the dynamics of codependence and recovery can be examined.

In my first attempt at this article it spiraled off into the realm of Metaphysics – specifically an explanation of the vibrational dynamics of the growth process from an energetic perspective. An explanation of how our repeating patterns are in fact a reflection of the Octave Principle (do, re, me, fa, etc.) in energy interactions dynamics. In our disease we keep repeating the same octave over and over again – and sometimes even descending to lower octaves. In recovery we are spiraling upward to new levels – so that each “do” feels somewhat like the “do” before it, but in reality reflects a higher vibrational level – a Higher level of consciousness, a more enlightened perspective.

Interesting stuff, that is a more complex, higher level perspective of the topic – but not really functional in relationship to the goal of this article. I want to communicate about some specific facets of discernment regarding emotional honesty and responsibility as clearly as possible in a web page of reasonable length. So, that information will be part of another web article about Higher Consciousness and Enlightenment. When I will finish it is in the more will be revealed realm, since I have so many different writing projects percolating.

The point that I want to make about this however, is that in recovery we are spiraling upward. We go through different levels, different stages in our growth process. The “do” I hit upon in my discussion of romantic relationships above, is probably quite a few octaves higher than where I was when I started recovery – but it still feels somewhat like, resonates with somewhat the same vibration, as the “do” from over 17 years ago when I got into recovery. (Actually, though the basis for my codependence recovery was laid in my first few years of recovery from alcoholism, my conscious codependence recovery began on June 3, 1986 – so it is possible that my relationship to romantic relationships didn’t start ascending until then.) I mention this to emphasis how important it is to not shame and judge ourselves for how we feel – because sometimes when we break through to a new level, a new octave, the familiar feeling / reverberation of it causes the critical parent voice, the old tapes, to feed us the lie that we have slipped backwards, that we are at the bottom of the whole process again and have made no progress. The feeling of shame, of having made a mistake, of failing because we feel like we are in the same place again emotionally, is a product of the old wounds and the dysfunctional perspectives of the disease.

We are Spiritual beings having a human experience. Life is not a test that we can fail. It is a process of learning to accept that we are Lovable and worthy no matter what we feel. Life is a journey that we are being guided through, not punishment for being unworthy – or something we have to do “right” in order to transcend. Recovery is a process of learning to own that who we are is Transcendent Spiritual Beings so that we can integrate that Truth into our emotional relationship with life.

“I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process. Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth. The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth. I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am. I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me. I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.

If I am feeling like a “failure” and giving power to the “critical parent” voice within that is telling me that I am a failure – then I can get stuck in a very painful place where I am shaming myself for being me. In this dynamic I am being the victim of myself and also being my own perpetrator – and the next step is to rescue myself by using one of the old tools to go unconscious (food, alcohol, sex, etc.) Thus the disease has me running around in a squirrel cage of suffering and shame, a dance of pain, blame, and self-abuse.

By learning to set a boundary with and between our emotional truth, what we feel, and our mental perspective, what we believe – in alignment with the Spiritual Truth we have integrated into the process – we can honor and release the feelings without buying into the false beliefs.

The more we can learn intellectual discernment within, so that we are not giving power to false beliefs, the clearer we can become in seeing and accepting our own personal path. The more honest and balanced we become in our emotional process, the clearer we can become in following our own personal Truth.”

Stages in recovery

“Writing this article (which appears to require at least three web pages) has been difficult because of all the levels involved. I received some e-mails with some basic questions that I wanted to answer in as complete a manner as possible – but answering some of the basic questions takes me into some quite advanced levels of recovery. I realized that I had never really written previously – except for a line or two here and there in the middle of something else – about such issues as: the misconception of many recovering people that emotional honesty means we are supposed to be emotionally honest with all of the people in our lives; or, specifically about what our responsibilities are in relating to others.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 1

Emotional honesty is the bedrock upon which codependence recovery is possible. Until we start learning to be emotionally honest with ourselves, we cannot began to see ourselves or life with any clarity.

The key here is learning to be emotionally honest with ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we need to be emotionally honest with all of the people in our lives. It is often not safe or functional to be emotionally honest with people who are not being emotionally honest with themselves, who are not on some kind of healing / recovery path. And even with people who are also in recovery it is often not safe to be emotionally honest.

If someone is in recovery from alcoholism/addiction, it is possible for them to focus on the black and white issue of rather or not they are drinking and using. This makes it possible for someone to be clean and sober for many years without being forced to become emotionally honest with themselves. Many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are not safe places to be emotionally honest. It is a sad fact that it is very possible to be shamed and judged in AA meetings by people who are reacting out of a rigid, black and white, right and wrong belief system.

It is also unfortunate that some people, who are involved in codependence or Adult Child recovery, use emotional honesty as an excuse to be abusive. I have encountered people who claim to have years of codependence recovery who will use a question like “Do you mind if I share something with you?” as a way of getting my permission for them to be verbally abusive. People who will say something abusive, shaming, and/or judgmental – and then say “Hey, I am just being emotionally honest.” These are people who think they are being emotionally honest but have no concept of emotional responsibility.

We need to learn to be emotionally honest so that we can take responsibility for our feelings – not so that we can inflict them on others. When I first got into recovery, I mistook being rigorously honest in working my program with being vigorously honest in sharing with others my insights into their issues. It took me several years in recovery to realize that sharing my advice or opinions with others – without being asked – can be abusive.

It is not healthy or appropriate in recovery to use being emotionally honest as an excuse to abuse other people – including the people who abused us. Going from being abused to being the abuser is swinging from one extreme to the other.

Now, we all go through stages in our recovery – as I mentioned in the first article in this series.

“Discovery, recognition, that we have been victims of abuse is vital. Rather that is emotional abuse, or any of the other kinds of abuse that also cause emotional abuse – physical, verbal, mental, sexual, spiritual. etc. It is vitally important to own our own victimization – and at some point start getting angry about it. Getting angry about how the behavior of others has wounded us is a vital step in owning ourselves – of honoring our Self.

I have often told clients that going from feeling suicidal to feeling homicidal is a step of progress. It is a stage of the recovery process that we will move into – and then at some later point will move beyond. An incest victim transforms into an incest survivor. Owning the anger is an important part of pulling ourselves out of the depression that turning the anger back on ourselves has created. It is often necessary to own the anger before we can get in touch with the grief in a clean and healthy way. If we haven’t owned our right to be angry, it is possible to get stuck in a victim place of self-pity and martyrdom, of complaining and gathering sympathetic allies – instead of taking action to change.

So, it is very important to own our right to be angry. That is a stage of the process that also needs to be moved through so we don’t get stuck in an angry victim place. In order to heal, it is usually not necessary to confront our abusers. For some people it is an important part of the process to confront their abusers with their anger. Hopefully this can be done in an appropriate therapeutic environment – although sometimes that is not possible. What is important to emphasis, is that we can heal without confronting our abusers directly – because the relationship that needs to be healed is within. To go to a place where we are lashing out at our abusers will often be just going to the other extreme – where we abuse the people who abused us.

There was a point in my codependence recovery where I would rage in AA meetings at old timers who were shaming and emotionally abusive out of their untreated codependence – their rigid, controlling, black and white thinking. That was a stage in my recovery that I outgrew – that I realized was not healthy. It was not bad or wrong (although the behavior was sometimes something I needed to make amends for afterwards) – it was a stage in a growth process. I learned to confront that kind of behavior in a gentler, kinder – and more effective – way as I grew.

Sometimes in our growth we find ourselves lashing out and being abusive. When that happens we can make amends for how we expressed ourselves – we never have to apologize for having the feelings. We cannot go from repressing our feelings and being emotionally dishonest to communicating perfectly in one step. Communicating in an appropriate way is something we learn gradually – and something we will never do perfectly every time.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 1

Sharing my opinions and advice without being asked in early recovery was a stage I went through. Raging in Alcoholic Anonymous meetings was a stage I went through. Getting in touch with our feelings can be a messy process. It is vitally important to learn to own ourselves and our feelings. While we are doing that, there will be times when we express our feelings in ways that we later need to make amends for. We will sometimes need to apologize for the manner in which we expressed ourselves, and/or the timing of our expression – we do not have to apologize for our feelings.

We are not responsible for other peoples feelings. We do have some responsibility in how we communicate and when we communicate.

For example: if we use abusive language, profanity, or name calling in our communication; if we scream and yell; if we throw or break things; if we communicate in front of other people instead of to that person privately; if we express ourselves at a time when the other person is particularly vulnerable; etc.

We also have responsibility for the perspectives which we are empowering that are causing us to react emotionally to the other person. We have responsibility for separating out grief and rage caused by wounds from the past that the other person is triggering, from the part of our reaction that is about them now.

We may need to go back to that person and say something like these examples:

I want to make amends to you for how intensely I expressed my feelings to you. What you said to me was inappropriate and abusive – and was not acceptable to me, but the intensity of my reaction was caused by the fact that you triggered an old wound from my past. Thank you for helping me get in touch with the old wound that needs some more attention and healing – but also know that that saying things like that is not OK. I will not allow you to talk to me like that.

I want to make amends to you for reacting out of a victim place. Your behavior was unacceptable to me, and I had a right to be hurt – but I reacted by blaming you for my feelings and that is something which I am learning to stop doing. So, I am sorry my reaction came from such a black and white perspective because it was not helpful in communicating with you about why your behavior bothered me.

These are very general examples, and in actual practice it is best to use the guidelines that I talk about in my page on setting personal boundaries.  That is: describe the behavior specifically rather than our interpretation of the behavior – both their behavior and our own.

I am sorry I called you a ____ (profane name) when you told that joke about ____. I felt hurt, discounted, put down, violated, angry, and shamed. I found what you said offensive and unacceptable – but it was not appropriate for me to use that kind of language in expressing myself.

Responsibility

In early recovery, I used to refer to responsibility as the R word. It was a trigger word for me that carried shame and judgment. I thought of it as having chains hanging off of it because being responsible to me seemed to mean being what society (and my parents) wanted me to be. That I wasn’t living up to those expectations seemed to reinforce my feeling that I was unworthy and defective. It was only in my codependence recovery that I came to realize that such behavior as not getting the grades I could have in school was in reality a passive aggressive retaliation towards my parents – the “I’ll show you, I’ll get me” battle cry of codependence. And I came to understand that not fitting into society’s idea of how to live life and define success, was in reality being true to myself by not conforming to standards that did not resonate with me.

It was a big relief for me in recovery to encounter another perspective on the term responsibility that allowed me to change my relationship with the word and the concept it embodied.

“As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now. The more we heal, the more responsibility we have – that is, ability to respond. The ability to respond in the moment.”

As a little boy I got the message from my father’s perfectionistic standards and raging verbal abuse, and from my shameful inability to fulfill the role of surrogate spouse and protector for my mother, that there was something wrong with me. I was raised in a religion that taught me that I was born shameful and sinful, and if I did something “wrong” I would burn in hell forever. Because of my fear of doing it “wrong,” of making shameful mistakes, I did not want to take responsibility for my life. Because of my emotional wounds and all of the anger and rage I was suppressing, I was powerless to do anything but react to life. I reacted to expectations by passive aggressively sabotaging myself. I rebelled against society’s standards in ways that hurt me.

I did not trust myself for good reasons – because of the reactive way I was living my life. I did not want to take responsibility for my life, for my choices and the consequences of those choices, so I set other people up to make the choices. That way I had someone to blame.

Blaming others – or the system or whatever – was a defense. I was stuck in the black and white perspective of the disease.

Being honest with myself emotionally led me to wallowing in self hatred – blaming myself for being unworthy and defective, for being a loser and a failure. Focusing on something or someone outside of me, that I could blame for victimizing me or obsess about because it/she would fix me (relationship, money, success, etc.), was an attempt to avoid having to feel the incredible hole within me – the abyss of wish to die pain and shame, the pressurized Pandora’s box of terror and rage, that I had to keep suppressing and denying. Survival involved using whatever means I could to go unconscious and/or deflect the blame away from me. Unconsciousness was my main tool for protecting and nurturing myself – my only real escape from the emotional extremes spawned by the black and white thinking of codependence.

In my personal journey, I had to encounter the concept that I was not shameful and defective as a being but rather had a disease that I had been powerless over, before I could start to shine some light into the darkness of the abyss within me. Working a 12 step program of recovery taught me that it was necessary – and it worked much better – to take responsibility for my life, for my choices, for the consequences of those choices. Starting to be open to the possibility that perhaps there is a Loving Higher Power, that I wasn’t being punished but was rather being given opportunities for growth – helped me to start letting go of some of the fear of making choices and some of the shame about the consequences I had experienced.

When I got into recovery I was launched into an adventure of discovering and exploring the gray area that is life. I learned that it was possible to take responsibility over behaviors and choices that I had made from a place of powerlessness without taking blame for those experiences. I learned that there were choices in between blaming them or blaming me.

“We need to heal the wounds without blaming others. And we need to own the responsibility without blaming ourselves. . . . We are talking about balance between the emotional and mental here again. Blame has to do with attitudes, with buying into the false beliefs – it does not really have anything to do with the process of releasing the emotional energy.

We also need to own and release the anger against those whom we feel victimized us as adults – and we need to take responsibility for our side of the street, own our part in whatever dysfunctional dance we did with them.

We need to own, honor, and release the feelings, and take responsibility for them – without blaming ourselves.”

I learned that my emotional reactions were being set up by my expectations and perspectives – which in turn were dictated by the definitions, beliefs, and attitudes I was allowing to define my experience of life. I was horrified to discover that my behavior patterns were being driven by, my emotional reactions were set up by, subconscious programming from my childhood.

“Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality. The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.” – The True Nature of Love-part 4, Energetic Clarity

I started to become empowered to change my relationship with myself and life when I started realizing that I have choices about the beliefs I allow to dictate my relationships. Instead of living life in reaction to old tapes – I could change that programming.

By changing that programming, it was possible for me to start taking responsibility for the areas of my life that I can have some control over, that I do have the power to change – and I could start to let go of trying to control things which I don’t have the power to change.

“I spent most of my life doing the Serenity prayer backwards, that is, trying to change the external things over which I had no control – other people and life events mostly – and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for my own internal process – over which I can have some degree of control. Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which I have no control is what is dysfunctional. It was very important for me to start learning how to recognize the boundaries of where I ended and other people began, and to start realizing that I can have some control over my internal process in ways that are not shaming and judgmental – that I can stop being the victim of myself.”

The areas over which I do have choices – and therefore also have responsibility – include these:

The timing and manner in which I communicate with others.

The attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that I allow to define me and my relationships.

My own emotions to a great extent. By being willing to change my relationship with my own emotions by changing my intellectual paradigm and becoming willing to face the terror of owning my grief – doing the grief and anger release work that took power away from my old wounds – I have a much greater deal of control over how and when I express myself emotionally. I also gain the ability to let go much more quickly of any expectations or perspectives that are increasing the intensity of my emotional reactions – therefore decreasing the power and magnitude of the emotional energy generated by day to day life events. Owning my power to change my attitudes towards the things which I cannot change (other people and life, being human and having feelings) gives me a degree of healthy control over how I respond emotionally. Our life experience will always include waves that rock our boat. Learning to accept, respond to, and go with the flow of the waves works to help us have more peace and Joy in our lives. Taking the waves personally and reacting out of fear and shame is dysfunctional if our desire is to enjoy life.

I have the choice to align my willpower with recovery so that I can take actions that are aligned with healing and recovery instead of engaging in behavior that empowers the disease. Recovery is a process of learning to take care of ourselves in Loving, healthy ways – of being our own best friend and ally – instead of being allied with, and giving power to, the self destructive reactions of the disease.

The people that I choose to spend time with. That includes family members. I have a choice about rather I have contact with my family of origin. If we don’t own we have a choice then we will feel like a victim of what we think we “have to” do. So, if I choose to spend time with my family (or anyone) knowing they are unhealthy, then I am responsible for the feelings I experience in our interactions – they are not doing something to me. In recovery I have choices – and choices have consequences. It is not a right / wrong, blame / mistake thing – it is about owning my side of the street, my part of the responsibility for the consequences that are manifesting in my life, so that I do not buy into a victim perspective and slip back into the rut of blaming them or blaming me. If I am blaming, then I am not seeing reality clearly within the context of my Spiritual growth process. Consequences are the Universe’s way of giving us feedback so that we can learn to make healthier choices. Consequences are messages from our Higher Power that guide us on our Journey home to Love.

I also have a responsibility to the people I choose to spend time with. I have a responsibility to communicate as clearly and honestly as possible. That does not just mean verbal or written communication. It also means the messages I am conveying by my actions. One of my old patterns was to have an emotional intimate friend who was a woman that I was not attracted to physically / romantically. I would be real clear in telling this person that I was not interested in that type of relationship and that I wanted to just be friends. Then I would feel betrayed when that person let me know that she wanted to be more than just friends. I used to fall back on the excuse that I had told them clearly and therefore I wasn’t responsible for their feelings. I learned that setting a boundary verbally was not enough to absolve me of responsibility of my actions. I was not responsible for their feelings, but in investing time and energy into the relationship, in exposing myself to them emotionally / being intimate with them on an emotional level, I was denying a basic reality of human interaction and setting myself up to feel like a victim. (The belief that our intense emotional hunger and incredibly powerful sexual energies will not come into play in an emotionally intimate relationship between individuals of the opposite sex – or same sex if homosexual – is an insane expectation as unrealistic as expecting everyone to drive the way we want them to. Denial is one extreme – letting our desires rule is the other. The gray area in between is where life takes place, is the arena we are learning to play in.)

Most importantly, I have some control over, and therefore responsibility for, the quality of my life experiences today. The quality of my life experience is directly related to the kind of Spiritual belief system that I choose to empower. By choosing to believe in a Loving Higher Power / Universal Force, I have been able to change my relationship with myself and life into one that is not defined by shame and fear. By choosing to empower the belief that everything happens for a reason in alignment with a Loving Divine plan, that there are no accidents, coincidences, or mistakes, I have accessed the ability to be more Loving to my self. To – some of the time – be accepting and patient and compassionate towards my human self. By choosing to have the faith to believe that there is a Loving meaning and purpose to life – despite all the seeming evidence to the contrary – I have dramatically changed the quality of my life experience from a hell to be endured to one that includes a great deal of Joy.

“One of the ironies of this whole business is something that physicists have learned from quantum physics. They have learned that the physical world is made up of energy fields that are temporary manifestations of energy interactions. All of the energy fields of the physical world are temporary. Some last for fractions of a second, some last for billions of years – but they are all temporary illusions.

This means that the Truest reality in the physical world is in the interaction. It is in our interactions that we can access Truth and Joy and Love. In other words it is in our relationships.

The most real thing here, the place where the highest Truth exists, is in the interactions: in our relationships. Our relationship with ourselves is a reflection of our relationship with our Creator, with the Great Spirit. And our relationship with ourselves is reflected out into our relationship with everyone and everything in our environment.

Spirituality is about relationships. God exists in the quality of our relationships.

When I look at a beautiful sunset – I am a temporary illusion and the sunset is also a temporary illusion – the most real, God-like quality is the energy of Beauty and Joy that I allow myself to access by being open and willing to experience the sunset. If I am caught up in one of my ego’s “trauma dramas,” then I will not be conscious of the sunset or open to experiencing the Joy and Beauty of the moment.

A very important part of this healing process is taking time to smell the flowers. Our job is to be here in the now and to do this healing.

I spent most of my life trying to become – perfect, loved, accepted, respected, etc., etc. It did not work because I was looking outside for something that can only be found within.

Now I know that I am not in control of this process and that what I am becoming is in the hands of a Loving (although somewhat slow-working) Great Spirit. I do not have to worry anymore about becoming – all I have to do is be. I just have to suit up and show up for life today and do what is in front of me. And everything will work out better than I could ever have planned it.”

Of course, we only have choices once we become aware that we have choices, and we can only start responding to life instead of reacting by being in recovery and doing the emotional healing. Our growth process evolves over time, and as we reach new levels we become empowered to have more choices. These are areas that we are learning to take responsibility for – not right and wrong standards to judge ourselves by. The disease will always take any new awareness on our part and try to turn it into something we can judge and shame ourselves for – it is important to own that we are in process making progress and to defend ourselves from the critical parent voice.

“It is necessary and healthy to take responsibility for our choices, to accept our consequences, and to try to make healthy decisions on a human level. Integration and balance involves a process of learning to accept healthy responsibility on a human level at the same time that we know we are being guided by a Loving Spiritual Force.”” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 4 Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 1

This is the fourth in a series of articles on Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility that I wrote in 2001 – 15 years ago, Wow. The first was Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility  The next two I have already published on this Blog: Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 – Uncover, Discover, Recover by learning boundaries and Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 3 ~ Setting Personal Boundaries – protecting self 

I will publishing a blog of Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility part 5: Discernment in relationship to emotional honesty and responsibility 2 next week – however if someone wants to read it on my website here is a link to it.

The key to codependency recovery is the inner child healing work I describe on my site.  A key element of that work includes learning to set internal boundaries. The formula that I pioneered for inner healing – which includes learning to set the internal boundaries – is something that I teach people through telephone counseling   (It is now possible to get phone cards for very cheap rates from many places in the world – and also to use Skype for free from anywhere.)  I talk about how the phone counseling can work to really change a persons life for the better in a short period of time on this page which includes some special combination offers.

Reading my book Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls (links to all of my books in both hard copy, ebook, and audiobook format are on that page) really help people take their understanding to a whole new level. Understanding codependency is vital in helping us to forgive our self for the dysfunctional ways we have lived our lives – it is not our fault we are codependent.

In the last few years I have also published two more books that can be very helpful. Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing and Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth. I have special offers for either or both of these books (or for all three of my books) on this page.

I also offer periodic day long workshops to teach people how to apply my inner child healing formula.  (There is now a downloadable MP3 recording available of my Life Changing workshop  – and I have a page with special offers for both the workshop recording and an MP3 download of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls. )

Codependency causes us to feel like the victim of our own thoughts and feelings, and like our own worst enemy – recovery helps us to start learning how to be our own best friend. Getting into codependency recovery is an act of love for self.

 

 

Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light ~ Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing

Cover of Inner Child Healing Book

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance)

“One of the reasons for the human dilemma, for the confusion that humans have felt about the meaning and purpose of life, is that more than one level of reality comes into play in the experience of being human.  Trying to apply the Truth of one level to the experience of another has caused humans to become very confused and twisted in our perspective of the human experience.  It is kind of like the difference between playing the one-dimensional chess that we are familiar with, and the three-dimensional chess played by the characters of Star Trek – they are two completely different games.

The Dance

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

That is the human dilemma – we have been playing the game with the wrong set of rules.  With rules that do not work.  With rules that are dysfunctional.” – Author’s Foreword, quotes in this color from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

This book is about healing.  It contains tools, techniques, and insights into the healing process that work in a powerful, effective way to change the quality of the individuals life experience for the better.  They work because they help the individual to align with the way life really works instead of expecting it to be something which it is not.

The approach to healing detailed on these pages is one which has evolved in my personal recovery since January 3, 1984 and in my counseling practice since 1990.  I have been guided to discover and develop an approach to inner child healing that offers a powerful, life-changing formula for integrating Love, Spiritual Truth, and intellectual knowledge of healthy behavior into one’s emotional experience of life – a blueprint for individuals to transform their core relationship with self and life.

My work is firmly grounded on twelve step recovery principles and emotional energy release / grief process therapy.   I specialize in teaching individuals how to become empowered to have internal boundaries so they can learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment while healing.  It is the unique approach and application of the concept of internal boundaries, coupled with a Loving Spiritual belief system, that makes the work so innovative and effective.

My belief is that we are Spiritual Beings having a human experience and that the key to healing (and integrating Spiritual Truth into our emotional experience of life) is fully awakening to our Spiritual connection through intellectual reprogramming, emotional honesty, grief processing, and inner child work.   It is not necessary to agree with my Spiritual beliefs to apply the approach I share on these pages to help you transform your experience of life into an easier, more Loving and enjoyable journey.  I consider Spirituality to be a word that describes one’s relationship with life – and anyone, regardless of religious belief or lack of it (who is not completely closed minded), can benefit from doing this work.

The wounding that needs to be healed is the result of being raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation rather than connection) environment by parents who were raised in a shame-based, emotionally dishonest, Spiritually hostile environments.  The disease which afflicts us is a generational disease that is the human condition as we have inherited it.  Our parents did not know how to be emotionally healthy or how to truly Love themselves.  So there is no way that we could have learned those things from them.

We formed our core relationship with ourselves in early childhood and then built our relationship with ourselves on that foundation.  We have lived life reacting to the wounds that we suffered – and the programming we integrated – in early childhood.  Living life in reaction to old wounds and old tapes is dysfunctional – it does not work to help us find some happiness and fulfillment in life.

The approach that is detailed on these pages does work.  It works to help the individual being learn to relax and enjoy life in the moment.  It works because it entails healing the wounds from the inside out – it is focused on changing our core relationship with ourselves.  Once an individual starts loving, honoring, and respecting her/him self more on a core level, everything on the outside changes.  External manifestation such as setting boundaries, seeing life and other people more clearly, letting go of trying to control and the worrying that accompanies those attempts, stopping the victimization, etc., start becoming more automatic and intuitive.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child who we were in order to Love the person we are. And the only way to do that is to own that child’s experiences, honor that child’s feelings, and release the emotional grief energy that we are still carrying around.”

There are a multitude of teachers, books, churches, etc., these days that are telling us that we need to learn to love themselves – but no one really tells us how to do that.  Learn to Love your self.  Easy to say, hard to do.  Love is like faith, in that both are pretty meaningless as intellectual concepts.  Love is a verb.  Verbs are about action.  Learning how to be more Loving in how we treat our self is the challenge.

The approach to healing detailed in this book is a formula that can help people learn to be more Loving to them self.  We learned how to relate to self, to life, and to other people in early childhood from people who were wounded in their childhoods.  We have been reacting to the intellectual programming and emotional wounds of our childhood ever since then.  In order to change our relationship with self and life, it is necessary to change the subconscious and conscious programming that is causing our relationship with self and life to be dysfunctional.  In order to start having some peace within us, it is necessary to be healing our emotional wounds and to stop our minds from being our own worst enemy.

The approach to inner child / emotional healing shared herein is the missing piece – the missing perspective – of the puzzle of life that so many people have been seeking.  It is a formula for integrating intellectual knowledge and spiritual Truth into one’s emotional relationship with life.   It is the key to learning how to be more Loving to your self – and to turning life into an adventure to be experienced instead of an ordeal of suffering to be endured.

It is possible to feel the feelings without being the victim of them or victimizing other’s with them.  It is possible to change the way you think so that your mind is no longer your worst enemy.  It is possible to become empowered to have choices in life at the same time you are letting go of trying to be in control.  Life can be an exciting, enjoyable adventure if you stop reacting to it out of your childhood emotional wounds and attitudes.

The tools and techniques, insights and beliefs, set out in this book work.  They work to support the idea that each and every one of us is Lovable and worthy.  They work to help change life from an unbearable ordeal to a often enjoyable adventure.  Try it – you might find it works for you also.” – Chapter 1 Introduction to Inner Child Healing from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) by Robert Burney

When you purchase Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light   Book 1 Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com or  Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble.

Available as eBook from Amazon or Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble or Kobo ereaders

Special offers available for Dancing in The Light plus Telephone / Skype Counseling.

An audio book version of Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in The Light Book 1: Empowerment, Freedom, and Inner Peace through Inner Child Healing (aka A Formula for Spiritual Integration and Emotional Balance) is available on  Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.

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Happy Holidays, Sad Holidays

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

 ““We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self – what some people call “the small quiet voice.”

   We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice.  As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us.  Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself – it is self-perpetuating.

    This healing is a long gradual process – the goal is progress, not perfection.  What we are learning about is unconditional Love.  Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame.” – quotes in this color are from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

    The holidays were always a very hard time for me emotionally.  Being alone on Christmas and New Years Eve was very painful.  So painful that sometimes I would arrange to be with someone or with a group of people just so I wouldn’t be alone.  That often was more painful than being alone.  And on those occasions when I was in a relationship during the holidays it was also painful because there was something missing, somehow I was failing the other person or she was failing me because even though there were moments of Joy and Love, it never felt quite like it “should” feel.

    After I had been in recovery a few years – in the course of trying to figure out how I set myself up to be a victim with my expectations – I had a very important insight about holidays.  I realized that holidays – not just Christmas and New Years Eve but Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, etc. – along with days like anniversaries and my birthday were the times which I judged myself the most.  My expectations of what a holiday “should” be, of where I “should” be at a certain age, of how my life “should” look at this particular time, were causing me to unmercifully beat myself up.  I was buying into the disease voice which was telling me that I was a loser and a failure (or going to the other extreme and blaming someone else for my feelings.)  I was giving power to the toxic shame that told me that I was unworthy and unlovable.

    I realized that I was judging myself against standards that weren’t real, against expectations that were a fantasy, a fairy tale.  The fairy tale that everyone should be happy and cheerful during the Christmas holidays is ridiculous just like the myth of happily-ever-after is a false belief that doesn’t apply to this level of existence.  The holidays are just like every other day of the year only magnified.  That means there will be moments of happiness and Joy but there will also be moments of sadness and hurt.

    Christmas is about Love and birth – rebirth.  The Winter Solstice is the time of the longest darkness and marks the point of increasing light, the new beginning.  Hanukkah is a celebration of, and time of, rededication.  Kwanzaa is a time of recommitment.  These are all times of both celebration and introspection.  Of assessing the past and focusing on what we want to create in the future (New Years resolutions.)  Any new beginning, any birth or rebirth is a also an ending.  With every ending there is sadness, feelings of loss and grief.  Loss because of Loved ones who are no longer in our life, grief because Loved ones who are still in our life cannot see us or understand us, sadness because of things that ended and people we have had to let go of during the past year.

    What is so important, what has changed my experience of these Holidays completely is allowing myself to accept the reality of my life (looking at both the half of the glass that is full as well as the empty part) and be wherever I need to be emotionally – that is, allowing myself to be emotionally honest with myself.  That does not mean that I have to be emotionally honest with other people.  If I am feeling grief because I am alone on the Holiday it does not serve me to share that with someone who is not being emotionally honest – someone who will shame me for not being cheerful.  If I am feeling hurt or scared or angry I will only share that with someone who is a safe person to share with emotionally – that is, they won’t discount and invalidate my feelings or try to fix me.

    I don’t have to live up to some false expectations about how I “should” be feeling today.  It was trying to deny the pain and sadness, the anger and fear, while judging myself as shameful for not feeling what I “should” feel or being who I “should” be, that caused me to get depressed and suicidal.  When I am in my feeling process I actually am a lot happier and feel more Joy than I ever did before I learned how to be emotionally honest.  It was on Christmas about 25 years ago that I got real clear that I could feel more than one feeling at once.  I was sad that it was Christmas and I was alone, and I was grieving for all of the Christmases that I had been sad and alone – which were very valid and legitimate feelings.  But as I went around to various clubhouses and friend’s homes that were having open houses, I could feel happy to see people I cared about.  I could feel Joy and gratitude that I was in recovery and feeling my feelings at the same time I was owning the sadness of that day and the grief of all the lonely holidays that I had experienced.

    It is so very important to stop judging ourselves against someone else’s standards and shaming ourselves due to a fantasy of where we “should be.”  We are exactly where we are supposed to be. We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are perfect in our Spiritual Essence, we are perfectly where we are supposed to be on our Spiritual path and from a human perspective we will never do human perfectly.

    A natural normal part of our human experience is feeling the feelings – we need to accept that.  No one who is being emotionally honest with themselves can go through the holidays without feeling sadness and hurt, anger and fear.  The good news is that the more we are able to own those emotions the more moments of peace, Joy, and happiness we can have.

    So, have a happy, merry, sad, Joyous, painful, peaceful, scary, cheerful in the moment Holiday season experiencing what it feels like to be alive in human body.  Whatever your celebration: Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, New Years, etc. let it be about the new beginning; the rededication to: the recommitment to: the rebirth of; life.  But most of all, let it be about Love by first of all Loving yourself enough to tell the critical parent voice in your head to shut up with all the comparisons and shame and judgment.”

Sacred Spiral

Special Holiday Offers – Give the gift of recovery this year by giving some people you care about a personally autographed copy of Robert’s Joyously Inspirational Book.  3 copies of Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls for the bargain price of $12 each plus shipping – save almost $18.00 off of retail price.  There are also links to special offers for phone counseling, subscriptions, MP3 downloads, and Robert Burney’s Intensive Training Day Workshop on that page.

 

Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame

This is Chapter 13 from Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life

“When I was working on these two chapters focused on codependency and the New Age Movement, I got an e-mail from someone who had recently ordered my book Codependence:  The Dance of Wounded Souls that said the following:

Dance, Dance, wherever you may be.  That’s what the Lord of the Dance said He.  Dance, Dance, wherever you may be and I’ll be with you in the Dance said He.

The trick is to change the music!  I got it!  The trick is to get free, so you can dance to a different music.  The freer you get the more you hear, or should I say feel or see the music.  You did a great job – Thanks

“The dance of life for humans has been grounded in shame and fear, empowered by belief in separation, lack, and scarcity.  These are lower vibrational emotions and beliefs based on the three dimensional illusion that humans experience as reality.  As long as the dance of humans harmonizes to music – vibrational emanations – that are rooted in shame, fear, and separation the only way to do the dance is destructively.”

“It is on the Spiritual Plane that the highest vibrational frequency range naturally available to human experience is generated (by the Souls). This frequency range is the transcendent Emotional energy of Love. This Love frequency range also contains frequencies which are experienced as Truth, Joy, Beauty, and Light as well as sometimes being called; the God within, the Goddess within, the Christ within, The Holy Spirit, etc.”

The later two quotes are from my page: The True Nature of Love – part 3, Love as a Vibrational Frequency.  The second one in a different color because it is a quote from my Trilogy that I used on that page.  I believe that the first part of the person’s e-mail – up to “I’ll be with you in the Dance said He.” – is from a song called Lord of the Dance.

What is important about this e-mail I received is that the person did “get it.”  We need to change the music we are dancing to – and in order to do that we need to change the subconscious intellectual paradigm that is dictating our emotional reactions.  And we cannot do that without doing the deep emotional healing.

“We grew up in dysfunctional families living in dysfunctional societies that were part of dysfunctional civilizations.  The definitions we learned in childhood about who we were, how life works, and how to relate to other people were false, distorted, and twisted.  Because the definitions, attitudes, and beliefs we were programmed with in childhood were false, they set us up to have emotional reactions to life that gave us inaccurate information.

“Our experiential reality is determined by the interpretations of our mind – by the intellectual paradigm which we are using to define / determine / translate / explain our reality.  The attitudes, definitions, and belief systems which we hold mentally dictate our emotional reactions.  Attitudes, definitions, and beliefs determine perspective and expectation – which in turn dictates our relationships.  Our relationships to our self, to life, to other people, to The God-Force / Goddess Energy / Great Spirit.  Our relationships to our own emotions, bodies, gender, etc., are dictated by the attitudes, definitions, and beliefs that we are holding mentally / intellectually.  And we acquired those mental constructs / ideas / concepts in early childhood from the emotional experiences, intellectual teachings, and role modeling of the beings around us.  If we have not done our emotional healing so that we can get in touch with our subconscious intellectual programming then we are still reacting to that early childhood programming / intellectual paradigm even though we may not be aware of it consciously.” – The True Nature of Love – part 4, Energetic Clarity

Our emotions are what drive us, what propel us, through life.  Our emotions tell us who we are.  If our relationship with our own emotions is messed up, we cannot see reality clearly.

If life is a dance, then our emotions provide the music.  Dancing in the dark according to rules that are dysfunctional is not much fun.  Dancing through life believing that we have responsibility for the feelings and behaviors of others, doesn’t allow us to relax and enjoy life very much.  Believing that we have to earn love by doing the dance “right,’ by being perfect, in order to reach the destination where we will get to live happily-ever-after – sets us up to be unhappy and blame ourselves for being unworthy and unlovable.” – Emotional Honesty and Emotional Responsibility Part 2 – codependence recovery

It is through doing our deep emotional healing and changing the subconscious intellectual paradigm – changing the music that we are dancing to – that we can start having discernment internally that allows us to more clearly hear / feel the messages of our intuition.  There is a huge difference between our emotional truth – the feelings that are triggered by our emotional wounds and/or created by the perspective we are viewing life from – and intuitive Truth that is coming from our Soul.  As long as our emotional truth – what we feel – is being dictated by childhood emotional wounds and the perspectives of self and life learned in childhood, then our relationship to this human dance will be dictated by music provided by our damaged ego self rather than the intuitive Truth that is coming from our Spiritual Self.

Book cover

Codependence The Dance of Wounded Souls

Truth, in my understanding, is not an intellectual concept.  I believe that Truth is an emotional-energy, vibrational communication to my consciousness, to my soul/spirit – my being, from my Soul.  Truth is an emotion, something that I feel within.

It is that feeling within when someone says, or writes, or sings, something in just the right words so that I suddenly feel a deeper understanding.  It is that “AHA” feeling.  The feeling of a light bulb going on in my head.  That “Oh, I get it!” feeling.  The intuitive feeling when something just feels right . . . or wrong.  It’s that gut feeling, the feeling in my heart.  It is the feeling of something resonating within me.  The feeling of remembering something that I had forgotten – but do not remember ever knowing.

In this dance of life that we are doing there are different levels – even of Truth with a capital T.  There are ultimate Truths, and there are relative Truths.  The ultimate Truths have to do with the eternal, everlasting reality of the God-Force, the Great Spirit.  The relative Truths have to do with each individual’s own intuitive guidance.  These are the messages we receive individually to get us from point A to point B on our individual paths.  The guidance we get from our Souls that tells us what the next thing in front of us is.

Our individual, relative Truths expand and grow as we expand and grow.  We each have our own unique path to follow – our own individual inner guidance system.  No one can tell you what your path is!  Your Truth is a personal thing.  Only you can know your Truth.

It is through following and being True to our individual Truths, as they relate to our path through this physical experience, that we reach balance and harmony with the ultimate Truths.” – text in this color is used for quotes from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

We have been dancing through life in disharmony and imbalance – in dis-ease.  It is by clearing up our relationship with our own internal process – so that we can change our core relationship with self and life – that we can start to dance with some balance and harmony to the music of the ultimate Truth of Love and Joy.

Codependent, shaming New Agers, Twelve Steppers, Spiritual Seekers, Health Fanatics

At the end of the last chapter of this work, I shared a quote from my online book about the Attack on America in which I called on spiritual and New Age teachers and healers and practitioners to be willing to be open to expanding their intellectual paradigm so that they could stop empowering polarity and shame about being human.  I cannot emphasize too much how important this is – for all of us who are doing this healing and spiritual work.

I will be talking more about the metaphysical aspects of this in a later chapter, but in this chapter I want to focus on integrating Love into this human horizontal dance we are doing – and how vital and freeing it is to stop empowering polarity.  Learning how to stop viewing ourselves, life, and other people from a black and white / right and wrong perspective is the key to manifesting Love into the World.

“I am mentioning it here because the sharing I am doing here about how I take power away from the black and white thinking in my internal process, is at the core of the work that I refer to in the slogan / bumper sticker Work for World Peace:  Heal Your Inner Child.  What I am talking about here, is how we manifest Love into our internal process – how to integrate Spiritual Truth into our emotional relationship with life.  It is The Work – not just to learn how to relax and enJoy life, which it does make possible – but The Work that will change the condition of polarization of the Lower Mind.  It is through doing this work individually that we will change the world.

So, I guess you can see why I think it is pretty important.” – May 23, 2001 Update Newsletter  Part 2

It is very normal for people who are:  spiritual seekers of the New Age or any type;  trying to learn how to be healthier and have better relationships;  in recovery and terrified of drinking and/or acting addictively again;  attempting to find some meaning and purpose to life that makes sense and brings inner peace;  etc.;  to be shaming and judging of self and others because they are not in recovery from their codependency – are not doing the emotional healing that will allow them to change the subconscious beliefs that they learned in childhood.

“It is quite common – especially with “New Age” types, but also in 12 step recovery programs – for codependents to give other codependents the message that “you must be doing something wrong” or you would not be:  1. in financial difficulty,  2. sick,  3. out of a job,  4. in a relationship,  5. not in a relationship,  6. whatever.  For people to judge others for how their life looks on the outside.  No one has a right to judge someone else’s path.  No one can know what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that Karma.  If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another person dies of cancer – that doesn’t mean one person did it right and another did it wrong.  Each of them is perfectly on their path.  There is no right and wrong.  We are all one.  We all get to go home.  We have different lesson plans while we are here.  There is no right and wrong.” – Joy2MeU Journal: My Present Situation – Having “IT” together 6-99

This quote from the personal journal I share in my Joy2MeU Journal is something I wrote in 1999 while I was homeless – something I talked about in the Newsletter portion of my January 2002 Update.

“I spent 6 months in 1999 being homeless.  Not on the street homeless – I had an office for my computer – but crashing on someone’s couch kind of homeless.  The lessons in acceptance and patience and letting go that I learned during that time were sacred gifts.  The level of faith that it forced me to access and practice, the depth to which I was forced to integrate my Spiritual belief system into my relationship with life, was a manifestation of Love from my Higher Power that I am now – and have been – reaping great benefits from.” – January 2002 Update Newsletter:  Part 1

Being homeless for that period of time – something that happened because I invested in starting this web site – was a perfect part of my lesson plan.  It was an incredible opportunity to practice what I teach.  To keep affirming that my path was unfolding perfectly even as the human part of me felt abandoned and betrayed.  It was an invaluable opportunity – a sacred gift – to work on not buying into the polarized perspective of my ego programming that was trying to tell me I was being punished for doing something wrong because of the external conditions in my life.

The fact that other people were giving me the message that I was doing something wrong – were saying things like, “what did you do to cause this?” or “how are you blocking abundance in your life?” – was additional practice in saying, “I am not doing anything wrong, I didn’t cause this, I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my Spiritual path.”

It was a very important part of my recovery to stand up for myself in response to people who were conveying those types of judgmental statements.  That doesn’t mean that I did not have some responsibility in creating whatever external condition those people were judging me for – or that I didn’t have a lot of issues around abundance that I have been working through for years.  We have been creating cause all of our lives – and what is manifesting in our life right now may be a result of the unconscious behavior of many years ago.  In other words, someone who has been on a spiritual path for 10 years gets some kind of physical illness – that doesn’t mean that their part in causing that happened since they started their spiritual awakening.  It may be that many years of unconscious behavior have contributed to that condition – behaviors that we were powerless over in the years prior to recovery.  So, when someone has a cold and you say, “well what are you doing to cause that?” – stop and think about the kind of message that conveys.  It conveys a message that the other person is doing something wrong – that they are being punished.  That is not a Loving message to convey.  Why do it?

Of course, the reason why people convey messages like that is because they are judging themselves.  The judgment externally is a reflection of the judgment internally.  That is something I realized in early recovery when I was trying to learn how to get in touch with my feelings.  I realized that if I went into the grocery store and experienced it as being full of jerks and idiots, that I needed to stop and ask myself what I was judging myself for that day.  When I am judging and shaming myself, I have a very negative perspective of other human beings.  When I am Loving myself by accepting that where I am at in this moment is somehow part of my healing process, then I have more capacity to accept that wherever you are at in this moment is okay also.  By learning how to have compassion for me, I gain the ability to have compassion for you – to see you as a wounded soul doing the best you know how to do at this moment.

And having compassion for me includes having the ability to set boundaries with you if that is necessary.   As I have said previously, Unconditional Love doesn’t mean being a doormat.  During that time that I was homeless – and many other times in my recovery – I was given the opportunity to stand up for myself externally as a reflection of what I was learning about having boundaries with the critical parent voice in my own head.  The more I am able to have boundaries internally, the more naturally, normally, and spontaneously I found myself setting boundaries externally.

Learning to have internal boundaries allowed me to start changing my relationship with my self from the inside out – rather than trying to do things on the outside “right” to try to feel better inside.  Healing is an inside job that needs to be done with compassion, patience, and Love, not something to be judged according to external conditions – or in comparison to others.

Moment of Clarity

Part of the reason I was able to stand up for myself and know that whatever was happening in my life was a perfect part of my path, was a moment of clarity I had in early recovery that I wrote about a few days after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 – when I started to write my online book.  I ended up not using the passage about that moment of clarity in that book – and now it fits in perfectly in this one.

Even though I was at a pretty rudimentary level of consciousness back in 1985 or 86 when this happened, I was open enough that I had started to experience moments of Knowing, feelings of intuitive Truth.  I was already starting to access the mystical channel within me even though I had not yet at that time begun my conscious codependency recovery.  I was awake enough to recognize moments of clarity – where an insight would come to me, and the Truth of it would resonate powerfully in my being.  Here is that passage:

“Once such moment of clarity came one day at an AA meeting in my then home group in Studio City.  It related to a news story I had heard earlier in the day.  The story was about a man who had been drunk and had been driven home by friends.  After getting home, he had gotten another set of keys and started off driving down the street in a black out.  He had smashed his car into the front of a house and narrowly missed killing a little girl asleep in her bed.

The street was one that I had lived on towards the end of my drinking career.  It was a street that ran off of Ventura boulevard into the Hollywood Hills – and then curved back down to the boulevard again after the name of it changed to Cahuenga West.  I had thought living on that street was great because I could walk about a half a mile in one direction to a good drinking bar – and a half a mile in another to a party bar with live bands.  I had gotten a DUI a few years before and had realized that drinking and driving didn’t mix – so with perfect alcoholic logic I would drink and walk.

I related to the story, not just because of the street, but also because I had driven so many times in black outs.  For those of you who are not alcoholic, a black out is when alcohol causes some kind of short circuit in the brain.  A person in a black out still walks and talks and drives – but has no memory of what occurred during the black out period the next day.  I had a black out the first time I got drunk – and continued to have them for 17 + years of drinking.

Sitting in the meeting that day, I was of course, profoundly grateful that I had never killed anyone in a black out.  That I hadn’t driven onto a freeway going the wrong way and ended up in prison for years having to live with wiping out a family.  That I wasn’t the guy who had driven into the house the night before.

Beyond the gratitude however, came a profound Knowing.  The insight that I had that day – perhaps my first experience of pure, clear humility – was that I wasn’t sitting in an AA meeting a couple years sober because I was better than the man who ran into the house.  I wasn’t even sitting there while he was in jail because I had done something right while he was doing something wrong.

What I saw so clearly that day, was that I was where I was – and he was where he was – because that was how the Divine Plan was meant to unfold.  That we were both children of God, extensions of the Divine, and that we each had a path we had come into body to fulfill.  For whatever reason – Karmic Settlement, certainly playing a large part – he was perfectly where he was supposed to be and I was perfectly where I was supposed to be.

When I watched a good friend die of alcoholism a few years later (The Death of an Alcoholic – codependency kills alcoholic), besides learning some huge lessons in letting go and acceptance, I also saw clearly that he was following his path perfectly.  That some people die of alcoholism, of drug addiction, of violence – and it is a perfect part of the unfolding of the Divine Plan.

In my Spiritual belief system, this perfect unfolding also includes death by terrorists who turn airliners into bombs.”

“What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, God calls a butterfly.”

That moment of clarity was a very powerful building block in the foundation of my Spiritual belief system. It is not okay in my Spiritual belief system to judge where another person is on their path.  As I say in the quote from my Journal above:

“No one has a right to judge someone else’s path.  No one can know what Karma someone else is settling, and what is necessary to settle that Karma.”

This is something I have been working to integrate into my emotional and intellectual relationship with life since that time.  It was an invaluable insight for me in my process of learning to Love my self and honor wherever I am at on my path today.  It is something that I have made great progress integrating – which is what allows me to work with other people in a way that is not shaming and judgmental, that gives me the space to allow them to follow their path.

“There were two interrelated things that I had to get clear about when I started working as a therapist:  One is that I am powerless over other people – over the pace of their progress, over whether they hear what I am saying to them, over where their path leads.  I watched a good friend die of Alcoholism (which is in a column in the Alcoholism section) and saw how clearly he helped other alcoholics stay sober because he couldn’t – he did more to keep more people sober than many of the sober people I know.  I can’t know what someone else’s’ path is – therefore I can’t tell them what is right and wrong.  What I can do is help them see themselves clearer (especially as to understanding how their childhood experiences have dictated their lives), see their choices and the possible consequences clearer, and know that we are Spiritual Beings going to boarding school not taking a test we can fail.

Which brings me to the second thing, which I believe is a Spiritual Truth – I teach best what I need most to learn.  I teach people how to Love themselves because I am trying to learn how to Love myself.  I learned to always listen to what I was saying because, though I have no control whether anyone else hears me, I do have the power to choose to hear myself – and there is always something in what I am saying that applies to me and my process in that moment. . . . .  I am in process just as my clients are – just as we all are.  There is no hierarchy as far as I am concerned – just one wounded person / Magnificent Spiritual Being sharing what has worked for me with another wounded person / Magnificent Spiritual Being. I am doing what I need to do for myself, to heal myself – it doesn’t have to do with anyone else – that it helps other people is just a bonus (and an opportunity to settle Karma).” – Joy to You & Me Newsletter I – July 1,1998 quoted in Choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

[I wrote a whole section here about how our language is polarized – which makes it very difficult to talk about the multiple levels of this dynamic without sometimes sounding like there is a right and wrong.  I will probably include that in a future chapter, but want to note briefly here that when I am talking about judging another persons path I am talking about taking ego strength – feeling better than – by judging where they are in comparison to where we are, or where we think they “should” be.  When we judge another human based upon the external conditions in their life, or their outward behavior or appearance, to feed our egos, we are being emotional vampires.  We all need to observe our self (to make objective judgments about whether our behaviors are working for us) and others (to decided if they are someone we want to be around) – but to judge their worth as a being based upon externals, or to compare ourselves to them (either negatively or positively), is being codependent.  In other words, we need to observe and make objective discerning evaluations not value judgments.  (To say, “He is an idiot” is a value judgment.  To say, “He is acting like an idiot” is focused on behavior rather than being which is good, but still involves some name calling / assigning a negative value judgment to behavior.  To say, “From what I see of his behavior he must be really wounded and insecure – probably someone I don’t want to spend time with.” is a more objective evaluation.)

No one can see where another person has come from to get to where they are now – how much progress they have made on their path.  None of us can know the depths of the wounds that are driving another persons behavior.  No one can know what Karma another person is settling.  A New Age spiritual seeker can be just as self righteously shaming as a religious fundamentalist when they making value judgments about other people based upon a black and white belief system – that is not Loving.]

curing cancer / manifesting abundance

One other thing I want to note from that quote from my journal.  The thing I mention about cancer was a result of something that happened in a workshop I did at a Unity Church in Santa Barbara a few years back.

“If one person is able to cure themselves of cancer and another person dies of cancer – that doesn’t mean one person did it right and another did it wrong.”

In some context I mentioned someone I knew who cured themselves of cancer.  Later when I was answering questions, a woman in the group asked a question that obviously was very emotional for her – and also made it clear that she had taken my reference to mean that her husband who died of cancer had not done his healing “right.”

At that point I got to share with that person, and the people in the workshop, the message from the passage above about our paths unfolding perfectly.  The reason I want to make note of this here, is because of the irony involved in what happened in that workshop.  I know a number of people that have been able to successful heal themselves of cancer, but the one I was thinking about whom I made mention of on that day is a perfect example of the kind of sophisticated level of the process I am talking about in this chapter – and in much of this online book.

That particular woman did not cure her cancer because she was so enlightened, because she was so far along in her recovery.  It was because of her codependency that she was able to cure that cancer.  It was a project to her.  She was one of the types of codependents who are addicted to doing projects – and doing them perfectly.  She used her black and white thinking to do the “right” things to cure her cancer.

Accessing and manifesting the power available to us from the Universe doesn’t require codependency recovery.  This woman was a perfect example.  She was doing it “right” – and because she was following a formula that worked, she was able to do something modern science says is impossible.  But like so many codependents who believe they are doing it “right” – from health fanatics to anyone who believes their way is the only way to God to the New Age authors who tell people that Love and fear are the only choices – they will judge and shame other people for where they are at on their paths.  Some of the more enlightened people, who have been on a spiritual / healing path for years, may do that shaming very subtly because their ego self image is invested in what a loving person they are – but unless their intellectual paradigm is large enough to be Truly Loving, a discerning person can sense their judgment (especially if you disagree with or challenge them.)

This experience with cancer for the woman I knew, did not help her relax in her relationship with life, did not help her to access more Joy in her life – because she was still relating to life from a black and white intellectual paradigm that required her to try to control life.  She had been able to heal her cancer but hadn’t changed the fundamental music of her dance.  When she finished her healing cancer project she went right back into her remodeling her house project to try to do that perfectly.

We cannot control life.  Trying to control life will keep us in fear of making “mistakes,” of doing life “wrong” – will keep us destination oriented.  We were programmed to relate to life as if it were a test we can fail.  That type of relationship with life does not allow us to relax and be present in the moment today.

“Many of us have pursued healing and Recovery just like we did the rest of our lives – as if it were a destination to be reached where we would find “happily ever after.”  We have gone to healers and psychics and therapists in order to learn the “right” way to do life.

Recovery is not a dance of right and wrong, of black and white – it is a dance of integration and balance.  The questions in Recovery are:  Is it working for you?  Is the way you live your life working to meet your needs?  Is the way you are living your life bringing you some happiness?

Metaphysical laws can be used for purposes other than manifesting Love into the world – like the Americanized version of Buddhism I ran into years ago that used the vibrational power of chanting to manifest new cars or whatever.  I believe that in this new Age of Healing and Joy our job is to integrate Spirituality into our relationship with life.  We are here to heal our relationship with our self so that we can manifest Love into our internal process and into the world.  It is by healing our codependency that we will not only learn to develop a more Loving relationship with ourselves so that we can learn to relax and enjoy life much of the time, but will also heal the human condition.

“The goal in this Age of Healing and Joy is integration and balance.  To integrate the Spiritual Truth into our physical experience so that we can fill the hole inside and find wholeness within.  As we integrate our True Spiritual nature into our relationship with our physical being we can begin to achieve some balance and harmony with and between all of the parts of our being.

This age is a time for growing and learning, a time to become conscious of the True nature of the Source Energy, a time of Spiritual Awakening.  We have been given the wonder-full gift of having the ability and the tools to start integrating the Truth of a Loving Universal Force into our day-to-day experience of life.  We now have the knowledge and guidance that we need to start bringing some balance to our relationships – with ourselves and our God/Goddess, with other people and the planet – so that we can live in a way that allows us to experience some Peace and Love on our life path.

We can heal our wounded souls enough to change the dance of life from a dance of endurance and suffering to a dance that celebrates living.  We now have access to the power to transform the dance of Codependence to a dance of healing and Joy.”

Now there is nothing wrong with new cars, or any other material goodies.  I would love to have a new car.  But to access the power of the Universe and focus our energy on manifesting money, property, and prestige, is to be too attached to the Illusion.  As long as we are looking outside of ourselves for the people, places, and things that will fix us and make us feel good about our self, we are stuck in our disease.  As long as we are taking ego strength from comparing our self to others we are empowering codependency – which means we are empowering the illusion that separation is the highest Truth instead of connection, instead of ONENESS.

Dance of Karma

We are works in progress.  Wherever we are at in this moment is a perfect part of our path – is a transitory moment in our journey through this lifetime.  We are involved in a dynamic transformational process that is unfolding perfectly according to the Divine Plan of a Loving Universal Source.  We are not in control of this process.  What we can have some control of is our perspective of / attitudes towards / relationship with, the journey.  By learning to accept where we are at today with compassion and Love, we gain the capacity to get some enJoyment out of this day of our journey.  By learning to start stopping the shame and judgment internally, we start seeing with more clarity anything in our life that is not working in our best interests, so we can do whatever we are capable of today – in our imperfect human way – to change the things we have the power to change.  We are co-creators here, not The Creator.  And nothing we do as co-creators is powerful enough to cause us to be separated from The Source.

“Free Will – free will is an illusion that exists within certain levels of the illusion.  On the highest level, we are all part of the ONENESS and nothing any of us do can change that – because ONENESS is the highest Truth.  On Lower levels we have free will to a certain extent.  All of our actions on the physical plane however are governed by the Law of Karma – so that free will exists within the context of Karmic settlement.” – New Age Misinterpretations of Metaphysical Truth

We do not have the power to separate from The Source because separation is an illusion.  The Age of Healing and Joy which has dawned in human consciousness on the planet is an age in which the old souls are doing Karmic settlement for lifetimes of Karma.  We are not being allowed to create new Karma in this lifetime – we are here to settle Karmic debts.

“We have all lived multiple lifetimes. We have all experienced every facet of being human. We are now not just healing our wounds from this lifetime, we are doing Karmic settlement on a massive scale, at a very accelerated rate.

Karma is the Loving, wonderful law of energy interaction which governs human interaction.  Like the other levels of Universal Law, it is about cause and effect.  In this case, “what you sow, you reap.”

Karmic Law dictates that every action of cause on the Physical Plane is paid for with a consequence of effect on the Physical Plane.  In other words, no one can end up in the hole, or in some hell in an afterlife. (Hell is here on earth, and we have all experienced it already.)”

We do not have the power to do anything except the Karmic settlement we are here to accomplish.  Abundance is a good example of this reality.  Just because abundance has not manifested in our life financially does not mean we are doing something wrong – or that it is a situation that we necessarily have the power to change.  Karmically it may be necessary for me, or any one of us, to learn to be fully alive and access Joy and serenity in this lifetime without ever having financial abundance.

“Abundance – as long as we are in the Karmic realm, let me address abundance.  Some of us came into this lifetime with issues to heal around money and financial abundance.  Other people had already done their healing around abundance issues – or will do it in some future life.  People that have a very easy time manifesting financial abundance are not better than, or more evolved than, people who have struggled financially in this lifetime.  It is just about having different types of paths – it is not something that rich people are justified in judging other people for (or vice versa), or that anyone needs to feel ashamed of because it means you are doing something wrong.

Now, all of us have childhood experiences that are reflections of the Karmic debts we need to settle.  That means, that things in childhood wounded us around the issues we are here to work on and heal.  So, like any other issues, abundance is an area that many people need to work on – to remove the dysfunctional, self sabotaging programming that comes from our childhood.  As long as we are working on uncovering our wounds and healing them, we are doing our part in the process.  It is important to learn to accept and Love ourselves no matter where we are in regard to any issue, and not give any issue (such as not having money) the power to affect our sense of self worth – or set us up to think that we are doing something wrong if we have not reached “there” yet.  We may never get “there” in this lifetime – it is important not to buy into being the victim of ourselves in relationship to any issue.” – New Age Misinterpretations of Metaphysical Truth

There is no destination to be reached.  Doing the work does not mean we are going to be rewarded in some specific way in this lifetime.  Being willing to do the healing work does not necessarily mean we are going to get that special relationship or the financial abundance or whatever – in this lifetime.  Doing the work makes us available for the possibility of having all of our dreams come true – it is not a guarantee the we will reach some specific goal / destination in this lifetime.

“So, I am walking to the post office exploring the idea of this new type of web page and the following interaction took place within me (in my inner reality these are fleeting thoughts rather than a formal conversation.)

ego/critical parent:  “Your giving away all of this information for free and meanwhile you can’t even pay your rent.  That’s really stupid”

Magical thinking inner child (who believes in fairy tales):  “Oh, but we’re going to be rewarded.  All kinds of good things are going to happen – including getting a lot of money.”

Adult on Spiritual Path: “Now, settle down you two.  In the first place, it is very important and wonderful to give away what I have been given – that is how to keep the energy flowing – and that is what works, it is what I need to do for me/us.  And I am going to do it because it feels good, it feels right – like the next thing in front of me to do.  We’ll worry about the rent when it is time to pay the rent – for today, for this moment, we will do what feels right for today.  And I need to tell you that our reward may just be to feel good about what we’re doing – and if that is all there is, that is still a wonderful gift.  On top of that we are getting positive feedback from all over – and that is a great bonus.  There may never be a lot of money, but that is not important.  There is enough money for today.  And we are very blessed to have something to do today that is fulfilling and makes us happy.”

So I set a boundary with the critical parent by not buying into the criticism, I set a boundary with my inner child by not building up expectations of some kind of reward, and I work my recovery program by focusing on the half of the glass that is full (my needs that have been met) and being grateful for the gifts I have been given, instead of allowing the disease to focus on fear and scarcity, on the half that is empty (my wants that have not been met.)

The purpose of doing the inner child healing work is to improve the quality of my life today – not to reach a destination or reward.  Today, I have choices about how I respond to my internal process.  Today, I can let go of the future and the past for this moment, which gives me the freedom to be happy and joyous in the moment for quite a few of the moments of my day.” – Setting Boundaries with inner children

The reward for doing this work is in the quality of our day to day life – and in our next lifetime.  Of course most of us want very much to believe this is our last lifetime – but I believe that though we are close to graduation, we are not quite there yet.

“We who are doing this healing are about to graduate from the school of Karmic human experience.  Any minute now . . . or any lifetime.

What graduation means is that we can be released from the Karmic merry-go-round, from the Karmic dance that was necessary because of polarization and “reversity.”  It does not mean that we will cease to exist;  that would be a pretty hollow victory indeed.

What I believe it means is that when peace prevails, when the thousand years of peace begins, when a balanced, harmonious, Spiritually aligned world evolves, then we can come back and play with all of our friends.   With our Kindred Spirits and our Soul Mates, and in union with our Twin Soul.”

The destination thinking is part of codependency – part of the intellectual paradigm we learned in childhood.  As I say in the quote from my book that I use earlier in this work, the Universe has the power to get us where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there – our choice is to follow the carrots or wait for the stick.  The purpose of doing this healing is to be able to stop being so afraid of doing life “wrong.”  The reward for remembering who we really are and doing what we need to do to tune in more clearly to our intuitive guidance is that we get to relax and follow the carrots.  It makes life so much easier and more enJoyable.

“I learned to focus on my recovery as my number 1 priority because it worked to make my life easier and less painful in the long run.  It took me years in recovery to really understand all of this – and to give recovery the priority focus – but eventually I came to understand that I could make a conscious choice to be a positive co-creator in my life instead of a negative one.  That I could start creating cause that would have better effect.

I focus on recovery because it works.  By paying attention, being conscious and willing, I get to follow the messages instead of forcing the Universe to use the stick on me.  Choosing to make recovery the number one priority in my life makes life easier and less painful.  Bottom line.” – January 2002 Update Newsletter: Part 1

“Recovery is a process of learning to forgive ourselves, of making amends to ourselves.  It was not our fault.

Healing is, however, our responsibility.  Today you know that there are choices – you know that there are resources and groups and tools – or you would not be reading this book.

The part of you that has been making up excuses for not getting more aligned with healing is your disease.  Don’t judge yourself for it – observe it.  Say to yourself, “Oh, isn’t that interesting, I don’t think I want to do that anymore.”  Or you can say, “Hey, this denial is still working for me, I think I’ll stick with it for awhile.”  Whatever works to make you happy.  (You might want to remember, however, that if you don’t follow the carrots – the Universe will use the stick.)”

Comparison = empowering belief in separation

One of the ridiculous aspects of the condition of codependency, of the human condition as it has been dictated by planetary conditions, is that it has caused human beings to focus on differences between us and fear those differences, instead of seeing all that we have in common and celebrating our connection to each other.

“We are all more connected than we are different.  As human beings, we share a basic emotional process that is the same for all of us.  We share connections with other human beings that can allow us to feel on the same wave length with any human being in the right circumstances.  We can watch a television show about someone who is completely different from us in terms of race, culture, language, etc. – and still resonate with them emotionally in a moment of tragedy, or triumph.  Someone from our home town, who we might pass on the street without a second thought in the normal course of daily life, becomes a kindred spirit when we meet them in a foreign country.

Our relationship with a certain subject can cause us to feel a connection to someone else – because of their similar relationship with that concept or group or thing.  Some examples: fishing or dogs or skiing or an athletic team or a specific cause or a certain philosophy, etc.  Every human being on the planet is someone who we could feel connected to – feel on the same wave length with – in the right circumstances in relationship to some shared feeling, interest, and/or experience.

We are all kindred spirits in terms of our humanity – in terms of our relationship to the horizontal human experience.  We are all kindred spirits with more connection than differences without even taking the vertical – the Spiritual relationship – into consideration.” – The True Nature of Love – Twin Souls, Souls Mates, and Kindred Spirits

Simply as human beings we are all connected in our experience of physical existence – are more alike than we are different in this horizontal dance we are doing.  The outer / external dependence of the condition of codependency causes us to focus externally and fear the unknown – which means fear and judge other people based upon what we see of them externally.  At the same time we are judging others based upon external appearances / conditions, we are trying to determine our own worth based upon external observation – and we are wearing masks and trying to hide the feeling of shame we are carrying deep within ourselves.  A ridiculous, dysfunctional dance without even taking our Spiritual connection into account.

“The reason that we have not been Loving our neighbor as ourselves is because we have been doing it backwards.  We were taught to judge and feel ashamed of ourselves.  We were taught to hate ourselves for being human.

We are here to learn to Love ourselves so that we can Truly Love our neighbors.  We’ve been doing it backwards:  hating our neighbors like we hate ourselves.

It is kind of a cosmic joke, see.  We have been taught that we are human and that it is bad and shameful, and that we have to somehow earn the right to be Spiritual.  The Truth is that we already are Spiritual and there is nothing bad or shameful about “being human.”

We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience.  We are here to experience feelings and touch and Love.  The goal of the healing process is not to reach someplace where we are above all the human experiences and feelings. We are here to feel these feelings.

When we become willing to feel the pain, then we become capable of feeling the Joy.  The Joy of doing this healing is incredible!  Our job is to heal and enJoy.  Our job is to be.  We are here to be human beings, not human doings.

Our job is to follow the Joy to the Truth.  Our job is to feel in the moment.

As long as we are reacting to old wounds and old tapes we cannot respond to the now.  The more we heal, the more responsibility we have – that is, ability to respond.  The ability to respond in the moment.”

The mystical Truth (which has now also been scientifically proven by Quantum Physics) that we all spring from the same Source – that we all are ONE with everyone and everything – makes this dance of codependency truly a tragically sad farce as long as we are still stuck in our codependency.  Once we start to awaken and recover, then we can start to lighten up and not take this cosmic joke so seriously and personally.  Then we can start accessing moments of Joy in our journey instead of always comparing how we feel to how the lives of others look on the outside.

“Looking outside of ourselves for self-definition and self-worth means that we have to judge people in order to feel good about ourselves.  There is no other way to do it when you look outside.

We were taught to have ego-strength through judgment – better than, prettier than, smarter than, richer than, stronger than, etc., etc.

In a Codependent society everyone has to have someone to look down on in order to feel positive about him/herself. This is the root of all bigotry, racism, sexism, and prejudice in the world.

True self-worth does not come from looking down on anyone or anything.  True self-worth comes from awakening to our connection to everyone and everything.

The Truth is that we are like snowflakes:  Each individual is unique and different and special and we are all made from the same thing.  We are all cut from the same cloth.  We are all part of the Eternal ONENESS that is the Great Spirit.

When we start looking within and celebrating the Truth of who we Truly are, then we can celebrate our unique differences instead of judging them out of fear.”

Buying into the belief that outer or external circumstances are a measure of any human being’s worth makes the determination of self worth a competitive issue.  In our codependency we look outside and compare our self to others to feel good about self – to gain ego strength.  But as long as we are looking outside in comparison, there will always be people that we feel less than as well as people we feel better than.

In our codependency we put people up on pedestals as having made it.  We buy into the illusion that they have arrived at “happily ever after” – because it means maybe we can get there also.  We glory in their triumphs because we are like them and can vicariously share in how they must be feeling at such a moment.  We have dreamed and fantasized about such triumphs / accomplishments / validation / vindication / success – so we share their glory because we can emotionally relate to such a moment.  We make people stars because we want to be stars – we think that will help us feel worthy and lovable.

Once people are up on those pedestals however, we eventually feel jealous of them.  They have made it – and we have not.  They are enjoying the fruits of success and victory – and we are still trapped in our mundane lives.  We end up resenting them and needing to pull them off of their pedestals.

Thus idolizing celebrities in our culture can quickly turn into a feeding frenzy of media vultures when that celebrity proves to be human.  Talk about emotional vampires – the news media is progressively manifesting uglier behavior in their frenzy to suck emotional blood out of the triumphs and tragedies of others.  This is a direct reaction to the emotional dis-ease of a society full of wounded souls who are starving for some emotional sustenance – so starved they will watch Reality TV to try to get an emotional fix.

Our codependent culture loves to see people become media stars, to put people up on a pedestal and shine the spotlight on them, because we all crave recognition and respect – we all want to feel valued and validated.  External validation is not a bad thing, but if we think that is what gives us worth we are being codependent – and we are set up to keep chasing the ego validation that makes us feel worthy as long as we are looking externally to determine our self worth.

Some of the New Age authors and mystical messengers I mentioned in the last chapter have gotten quite caught up in being celebrities.  Because they are not in recovery from their codependency, they can get sucked into the quicksand of money, property, and prestige – into the heady experience of other people putting them on a pedestal.   It is pretty easy for any codependent to get caught up with being seen as an “expert” – as a messenger who has impacted the lives of others in a very valuable way.  The fact that they may get caught up in their codependency does not diminish the value of the ways in which they have been teachers and way showers for others – what it means that they may lose the ability to have some healthy perspective on their own growth process.

The e-mail about changing the music which I mentioned at the start of this chapter, was one of several e-mails I got while writing this that fit in some way with the process of the creating these last few chapters.   Another one of them was an e-mail from one of the therapists on my referral page.  He had dropped me a note to let me know he was working on creating a web site called Why Dr. Phil Failed Us.  I will be interested in checking that site out once it is online because I really don’t know much about Dr. Phil – except that he has become a celebrity phenomena.  I haven’t paid any attention to him, or watched what he does, because in my opinion (hopefully an objective observation) Oprah is still coming from a very codependent ego driven place – so anyone that she thinks is wonderful is not likely to be someone who would challenge her intellectual paradigm or the level of her personal emotional healing.

As I said in the last chapter, I believe that Oprah is a mystical messenger who has helped millions of people open up to larger concepts – has helped millions of people break out of limiting belief paradigms.  But like any messenger / teacher / therapist / etc., she can’t lead people someplace she hasn’t gone herself.  I am sure that Dr. Phil, like Oprah, can be very helpful to many, many people in exposing them to different perspectives of the healing and awakening process.  And each of them is a wounded soul, a codependent, who is on a path that is unfolding perfectly for them.  As with any therapist or author, sponsor or coach, counselor or healer, they may be very helpful to us at a certain stage in our growth – but that does not mean that we should put them up on pedestals.  We want to honor and value anyone who we have found helpful, but it is important to use discernment in how much power we give to anyone.

“The reality is that inner child healing and codependency recovery are still pretty new – and many very well meaning professionals out there do not know a lot about this work.  My approach to the work is unique and pioneering, and no one out there is doing exactly what I do and describe. You will find very few counselors and therapist who define codependence in as large a context as I do; many who do not see it as a Spiritual disease; many who have not done their own emotional work. . . . . . . . But you can find good people out there doing important work.  You can find people:  who can lovingly facilitate grief work;  who can be very helpful in seeing your codependence when you are blind to it in certain areas;  who are very good at teaching Loving Spiritual concepts;  who can help you understand specific dynamics around such issues as verbal abuse or sex addiction etc.  It is possible to find counselors and therapist who can be very helpful in your process.

What is important is to be careful about giving them too much power.  The purpose of the work as I see it, is for each individual to become empowered to access and trust their own inner guidance.  There will come a point when it is time to move on – or when you only need to see them once in a while.  The goal is to stop making any outside source your higher power – including your counselor or therapist.

It is important to recognize that no one has the right to judge or shame you – especially a counselor.  Counselors and therapist are wounded human beings who sometimes let their own agendas influence what they say to you.  There may be things about you that trigger their wounds.  Pay attention.  Recognize if you have outgrown what they have to offer.  Do not buy into thinking that because they were helpful for awhile, that means they are always right.” – Inner Child Healing – choosing a therapist or counselor with discernment

I also got an e-mail from someone who thanked me for how much my site had helped her – but asked “why do you share so much info on the internet?  Usually people put a little to interest you so then you will go buy their book.”  Here is part of my response to this person (who I haven’t been able to get a reply through to because her mailbox is full.)

“I was never very good at that business and marketing stuff. 😉   Actually, it is just how my path has unfolded.  What I do is share my experience strength and hope.  I feel that part of my mission in this lifetime is to serve as a messenger and that I get the honor and privilege of being able to share a very wonderful and Joyous message.  So, I want to spread the word.  Also, I have lots and lots of Karma to settle. ;-)”

There is another level to my motivation which has to do with molecular biology which I will touch on later – but the reason I am adding this here is that within a day or two of getting that last e-mail another serendipitous thing happened.  I found a link to my site on another web site which commented on how much information I share on the site for free – and said that I share almost my whole book on it.  That isn’t really true, the sharing the whole book part – although I do share a lot of quotes from my book Codependence:  The Dance of Wounded Souls on the pages of this site.  And a person can get a sense of my book from those quotes – but reading it is an experience in and of itself.

The thing that I have heard from so many people is that reading the book – or listening to the audio tapes – can bring about a shift in a person’s relationship with life.  That reading the book can, in and of itself, bring about a change in the music one is dancing to – can help a person relax and start enjoying life a little more because their perspective of life and self has shifted into one more aligned with Love.  That is the goal of codependency recovery in my view – to change the music of our human experience from a dance based upon shame, fear, and separation to a dance aligned with Joy, Love and ONENESS.  It makes my heart smile to know that I was the instrument in creating a book that can facilitate a musical metamorphosis in the dance of life for others.

So, I guess that this last is my version of a marketing strategy.  If you resonate with what I write here, there is a good chance that reading my book will help you change the music of your dance.  But rather you buy my book or not, I hope you can hear the music of Love in Truth as I understand it. ;-)” – Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life  Chapter 13: Changing the Music: Love instead of fear and shame

Codependency Recovery: Wounded Souls Dancing in the Light  Book 2: A Dysfunctional Relationship with Life is available in a subscription area of the Joy2MeU website entitled: Dancing in Light

A special offer for that subscription (as well as for the Joy2MeU Journal quoted herein) is part of the Holiday Special Offers posted a couple of days ago.

Much of the information on this page was incorporated into my eBook The Law of Attraction – Misunderstood & Misinterpreted A Larger Spiritual Paradigm